With advancements in technology and the rise of e-commerce, distribution center management has changed. Where distribution centers previously functioned on a B2B basis and supplied products only to retailers, today, they also frequently have to ship goods directly to the consumer. This development has introduced a whole new layer of complexity as distribution centers strive to meet consumers’ expectations and deliver a good customer experience.
This post is the first in our series of three blog posts that each discuss some best practices that can help distribution centers of all sizes streamline and optimize their operations.
Technology to Streamline and Enhance Operations
Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and while it may sometimes seem disruptive, it’s actually a helpful tool for distribution centers. The national unemployment rate hovers around 3.8 percent, which means that talent — especially experienced talent — is hard to come by.
Moreover, errors and issues with shipments frustrate other companies and customers. In fact, according to a recent survey, picking errors cost distribution centers over $400,000 each year. Clearly, since a number of technological solutions solve these problems, it’s in your organization’s best interest to consider adopting them. Here are some of the most useful technologies you can leverage to your advantage:
- Smart technology: Make your equipment and facility smart by outfitting them with sensors that can do everything from monitoring wear and tear to creating an alert that maintenance is needed. This setup reduces your dependency on human monitoring while simultaneously keeping your assets in good working order so that you minimize any downtime.
- Automation: In such a tight labor market, it’s helpful to know you can leverage automation to do everything from tracking, tracing and ordering to printing and applying labels. You can even invest in a dimensional weight capture solution that enables faster and more accurate carrier selection.
- Voice technology: Especially when it’s integrated with distribution ERP systems, voice technology can help your workers work faster, safer and more accurately. In addition, since new hires can simply follow spoken instructions, it reduces the amount of time needed to train them.
Clients First — Your Trusted Technology Advisor
It should be clear that although acquiring these technological solutions requires an initial investment, the ROI can be astonishing. For example, automated printing and applying labels is between five and 10 times faster than a manual workstation — and it produces far fewer mistakes.
To maximize your ROI on these investments, they need to be integrated with your ERP system so that all the data and processes are visible in one single app, which is precisely how you can benefit from working with our experienced consultants at Clients First Business Solutions. We’ll listen to your needs and evaluate every aspect of your operations so that we can advise you on the best ERP for wholesale distribution that will help you achieve your business goals. For more information, contact us today.
Be sure to keep an eye out for our next two blog posts about distribution center best practices!