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. It’s time to make a change.

The time of the foreman walking around the warehouse with a clipboard in hand, cigarette in mouth shouting out orders are long 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? 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.

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. You should catch up fast, just like your customers, such as distributors, retailers, and brands, who are moving up in the technology chain.

Customer portal

Let’s start by looking at how to keep your customers informed in real-time and anytime. This is what’s known as 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. So, knowing all this with accuracy and in real-time is crucial. 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 instantly to access data or share it with customers. The machine does that.

Billing automation

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.

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. 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.

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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