Retailers, Distributors, small businesses are looking at building automation that allow for functions such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, heatmaps, and intelligent routing, etc. It looks like you are playing catchup. 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? 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.
We are seeing more retailers and brands investing in artificial intelligence (AI), robots, and other technologies. 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 pay good money to use your space and look forward to the next shipment out when orders come in. 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 to pull out data on demand or sharing it with customers instantly – the machine helps you do that.
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. Automated billing ensures that the machine does not forget and sends reminders to you if payment is not received.
Prepare for the flood of orders
Customers are quickly moving to multi-channel or omnichannel distribution. When business is good, a rise in order processing will have stretched your limited 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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