Retailers, Distributors, small businesses are looking at building automation that allow for functions such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, heatmaps, and intelligent routing, etc. Looks like you’re playing catchup with them. Time to change?
The days of the foreman walking through a warehouse holding a clipboard and smoking cigarettes, shouting orders are gone. Let’s not start with you putting your hand up to say, “We don’t allow smoking at work anymore.”
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.
Is there anything wrong with this image? 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.
We are seeing more retailers and brands investing in artificial intelligence (AI), robots, and other technologies. Science fiction? It’s a nightmare for anyone not moving in the same direction.
We are, my friends from the warehousing and fulfilment business, talking about automation – and we don’t mean the drinks vending machine.
If you’re not automated, this is the time to consider it seriously. You should catch up fast, just like your customers, such as distributors, retailers, and brands, who are moving up in the technology chain.
First, let’s look at keeping your customers updated; in real-time, anytime. This is what’s known as a customer portal. They will pay a lot to have your space, and they look forward to receiving the next shipment when they arrive. They need to know what inventory they have, and where it is stored. Organizations are constantly operating a business. 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
Using an electronic device that registers a whole range of data by merely scanning the SKU is infinitely useful. The data is instantly stored in the system unlike paper recording, which can lead to errors and loss of sheets of paper. Imagine being able to pull out data on demand or sharing it with customers instantly – the machine helps you do that.
Have you ever heard someone say, “Have you billed company X?” A bill not made is not charging for services rendered. Paying in cash is more expensive than not getting paid. When billing is automated, the machine never forgets and it even sends reminders if payments are 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.
WMS will help you prepare for large volumes and inventory allocations. You’ll be grinning from ear-to-ear when the money rushes in – rather than pulling your hair out just trying to cope.
You can also get digital assistance to avoid being overwhelmed by the “big event” like the Dutch built levees to protect themselves from the flood waters.
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