Small businesses, distributors and retailers are interested in building automation that allows for functions like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics heatmaps, intelligent routing, and robotics. 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.
At least a decade ago, this would be the quintessential warehouse operator’s daily scene. 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”. 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. 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 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. 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.
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.
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.
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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