Digitalize your warehouse operations and ride the tech revolution

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 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.

This was the warehouse operator’s everyday scene at least a decade ago. 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.

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.

Customer portal

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. As organizations running a living, breathing business, they need to know how much inventory they have and where it’s stored. So, knowing all this with accuracy and in real-time is crucial. 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 to pull out data on demand or sharing it with customers instantly – the machine helps you do that.

Billing automation

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. 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. 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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