Small businesses, distributors and retailers are interested in building automation that allows for functions like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics heatmaps, intelligent routing, and robotics. Looks like you’re playing catchup with them. 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. For those who missed it, this was even considered romantic.
Is there anything wrong with this image? It’s the almost-dirty word “manual” if you haven’t already guessed. 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.
We are, my friends from the warehousing and fulfilment business, talking about automation – and we don’t mean the drinks vending machine.
Automating your business is a serious consideration. 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 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. 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. 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.
How many times have you heard people say, “Have I billed company X or not?” Billing not made means 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.
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.
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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