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. It’s time to make a 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? 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.
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 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. They need to know what inventory they have, and where it is stored. Organizations are constantly operating a business. 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
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. 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. 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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