Small businesses, distributors and retailers are interested in building automation that allows for functions like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics heatmaps, intelligent routing, and robotics. 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. For those who missed it, this was even considered romantic.
Is there anything wrong with this image? It’s the almost-dirty word “manual” if you haven’t already guessed. 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? 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.
Automating your business is a serious consideration. You should catch up fast, just like your customers, such as distributors, retailers, and brands, who are moving up in the technology chain.
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. So, knowing all this with accuracy and in real-time is crucial. It is crucial to be accurate and fast with consumer trends constantly changing.
Mobile barcode scanning
Using an electronic device that registers a whole range of data by merely scanning the SKU is infinitely 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.
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.
Prepare for the flood of orders
Your customers are swiftly moving into omnichannel or multi-channel 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.
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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