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. It’s time to make a change.
The time of the foreman walking around the warehouse with a clipboard in hand, cigarette in mouth shouting out orders are long 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.
This was the warehouse operator’s everyday scene at least a decade ago. 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”. Sure, it may not be four letters, but in today’s warehousing and fulfilment landscape – the dreaded swear word may be doing its rounds in your facility when things go missing, customers start complaining or worse still – clients start going elsewhere.
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.
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. 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.
Let’s start by looking at how to keep your customers informed in real-time and anytime. This means setting up what is called 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. It is crucial to be accurate and fast with consumer trends constantly changing.
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 to pull out data on demand or sharing it with customers instantly – the machine helps you do that.
How many times have you heard people say, “Have I billed company X or not?” Billing not made means not charging for services rendered. Time cost added to not receiving payment equals to losing money. When billing is automated, the machine never forgets and it even sends reminders if payments are not received.
Be prepared for a flood of orders
Your customers are swiftly moving into omnichannel or multi-channel distribution. When business is good, a rise in order processing will have stretched your limited resources. All hell probably breaks loose when orders go up by two or three hundred percent.
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.
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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