Small businesses, distributors and retailers are interested in building automation that allows for functions like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics heatmaps, intelligent routing, and robotics. It looks like you are playing catchup. 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. 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.
What’s wrong with this picture? 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? 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.
Let’s start by looking at how to keep your customers informed in real-time and 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. 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. 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 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. 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.
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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