Retailers, Distributors, small businesses are looking at building automation that allow for functions such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, heatmaps, and intelligent routing, etc. It looks like you are playing catchup. It’s time to make a change.
The days of the foreman walking through a warehouse holding a clipboard and smoking cigarettes, shouting orders are gone. Before you start putting up your hand to say “we don’t allow smoking in the workplace anymore”, let’s talk about the foreman with the clipboard.
At least a decade ago, this would be the quintessential warehouse operator’s daily scene. It was even considered “romantic” for those who miss it.
What’s wrong with this picture? If you haven’t guessed by now – it’s that almost dirty word of “manual”. It may not be four letters but it is a dreaded swear word in today’s warehouse and fulfilment world. Customers complain about missing items, clients go elsewhere, or worse, the swear word can be used to describe your facility.
Coming back to the (less romantic) reality of today, we are seeing many retailers and brands equipping themselves with artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the like. Science fiction? No, nightmare for those not moving in the same direction.
My friends in the warehousing industry and fulfilment business are talking about automation. We don’t mean the drinks vending machines.
If you’re not automated, this is the time to consider it seriously. Just like how your customers such as the distributors, the retailers and the brands are moving up the technology chain, you should at least catch up quickly.
First, let’s look at keeping your customers updated; in real-time, anytime. This means setting up what is called a customer portal. They pay good money to use your space and look forward to the next shipment out when orders come in. As organizations running a living, breathing business, they need to know how much inventory they have and where it’s stored. It is essential to have accurate and real-time information about all of this. With consumers trends changing in the blink of an eye – accuracy and speed is the most important thing.
Mobile barcode scanning
An electronic device can register a wide range of data simply by scanning the SKU. This is extremely useful. It is immediately stored in the system, unlike old-school paper recording where errors by the person recording it and losing the sheets of paper is a real thing. Imagine being able instantly to access data or share it with customers. The machine does that.
Have you ever heard someone say, “Have you billed company X?” A bill not made is not charging for services rendered. Time cost added to not receiving payment equals to losing money. Automated billing ensures that the machine does not forget and sends reminders to you if payment is not received.
Prepare for the flood of orders
Customers are quickly moving to multi-channel or omnichannel distribution. If business is strong, an increase in order processing will strain your resources. Orders that rise by more than two hundred percent will cause chaos.
Prepare for the huge volumes, inventory allocation by letting WMS help you. WMS will help you to smile from ear to ear as the money comes in, rather than trying desperately to keep up.
Like the Dutch building levees in anticipation of the big floods, you too should get digital help to prevent being drowned by the “big event”.
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