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.
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? It’s the almost-dirty word “manual” if you haven’t already guessed. 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.
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. 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. 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
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.
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. If business is strong, an increase in order processing will strain your resources. All hell probably breaks loose when orders go up by two or three hundred percent.
Prepare for the huge volumes, inventory allocation by letting WMS help you. WMS will help you to smile from ear to ear as the money comes in, rather than trying desperately to keep up.
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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