Automation Opportunities for Distribution Businesses
The mark of a forward-thinking company these days is automated processes. In the era of order-picking Amazon fulfillment warehouse robots and online customer service AI, businesses looking to stay competitive need to be thinking of ways to automate certain aspects of their day-to-day operations.
If automation sounds like something reserved for the big-box retailers with mountains of cash, think again — automation solutions are becoming more and more affordable for businesses of all sizes, and a solution doesn’t have to be all-encompassing and armed to the teeth to be considered automation. Something a simple as a Slack integration that triggers an alert in your warehouse when an order is ready to be picked would qualify as automation.
Automation is, simply put, a smart solution that eliminates redundant or otherwise unnecessary manual labor. Determining where and when to implement automation solutions into your processes will depend on your particular company, but there are many areas where automation can step in to make everyone’s workday easier (and save money while increasing accuracy). Let’s review a few of these opportunities.
As in our Slack example above, order processing presents many opportunities for automation. If there’s a step in your transaction fulfillment workflow that involves clicking a button, checking a box, sending an email, or any other similar, electronic function, chances are that there’s an automation solution out there that can take charge of those tasks for you.
Accelerating your transaction fulfillment workflow via automation will have an outsized effect on your business’ overall productivity, but that’s only one of the benefits that automated order processing brings. Automation also increases your company’s accuracy in data entry, decreases the risk that an important step in the process will be missed, and frees up your employees’ time, allowing them to attend to more complex matters.
When customer satisfaction and beating out the competition are on the line, you need to be putting your best foot forward when it comes to processing orders quickly, efficiently, and accurately. Automation might be the key to keeping your company on the cutting-edge and ensuring continuing success.
Scheduled events, such as data audits or vendor invoicing, are activities that are begging for some automation. If you know when and how a certain event needs to take place in your business systems, make like Ron Pompeil and “set it and forget it!”
By utilizing an automation solution to take care of recurring or predictable events, you further free up employees’ schedules, and, let’s face it, remove a lot of boredom from the workday. Smart businesses are always looking for additional ways to save time and money, and automating recurring events is a great way to accomplish both.
If scheduling recurring events seems like a good option for your company, pay close attention to the user interface when looking for your automation platform. Because these automated events take place without anyone there to catch any careless errors, you want to be absolutely sure that you and your employees understand how to work the automation software, and that you can easily view and edit any scheduled or recurring events.
The last thing you or the higher-ups want is an embarrassing error caused by confusing software that sent out the wrong email or billed customers earlier than promised. The right automation solution will be easy to use and understand, lowering the potential for mistakes that might damage your company’s reputation.
If you’re a busy, product-centric company focused on growth and profitability, we’re willing to bet you’ve got data in more than one location, probably in the form of multiple ecommerce storefronts.
Keeping your data synchronized across platforms is vital. Whether it’s financial data that is exchanged between your accounting and ERP platforms or it’s inventory stock levels in a warehouse used by multiple ecommerce sites, accurate, reliable data is your company’s bread and butter.
Automating data synchronizations is possibly the very best way of ensuring that whenever you pull a report or access critical business data, the numbers are trustworthy and up-to-date. In today’s day and age, if you can’t rely on your data, you’re dead in the water. A reliable automation solution, though, will allow you to rest easy, knowing that there are no data discrepancies across your different software solutions.
Find the Automation Solution That’s Right for Your Company
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to automation software. Every company is unique, with specific needs and requirements. This makes choosing the right automation solution a potentially complicated undertaking, but it’s well worth looking into for all the benefits it can bring to both your business processes and your bottom line.
By implementing an automation solution, such as SalesPad’s AutomationAgent, you’ll be providing your company with a suite of powerful options for keeping up with automation technology as it continues to evolve. The benefits that automated processes bring to businesses are just starting to rear their heads — imagine what the automated distribution company of tomorrow will look like. Now’s the time to jump on board the automation train before you’re outpaced by the competition.