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. 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? 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.
We are, my friends from the warehousing and fulfilment business, talking about automation – and we don’t mean the drinks vending machine.
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.
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 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. 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 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. 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
Customers are quickly moving to multi-channel or omnichannel 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”.
For more details about multiple warehouse inventory management see our new web page.