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23 August 2021
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. 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". 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.
First, let's look at keeping your customers updated; in real-time, 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. 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. It is crucial to be accurate and fast with consumer trends constantly changing.
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 instantly to access data or share it with customers. The machine does 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.
Prepare for the 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.
Prepare for the huge volumes, inventory allocation by letting WMS help you. You'll be grinning from ear-to-ear when the money rushes in - rather than pulling your hair out just trying to cope.
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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