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. Let’s not start with you putting your hand up to say, “We don’t allow smoking at work anymore.”
This was the warehouse operator’s everyday scene at least a decade ago. 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? It’s a nightmare for anyone 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 means setting up what is called 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
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.
How many times have you heard people say, “Have I billed company X or not?” Billing not made means 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. 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. 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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