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. Time to 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.
This was the warehouse operator’s everyday scene at least a decade ago. It was even considered “romantic” for those who miss it.
What’s wrong with this picture? 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.
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.
First, let’s look at keeping your customers updated; in real-time, 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. It is essential to have accurate and real-time information about all of this. 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. 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
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. Orders that rise by more than two hundred percent will cause chaos.
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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