Automation: From Benefit to Necessity
Even prior to the pandemic, consumers were demanding. Since the rise of e-commerce, end users expect the ability to order what they want, when they want it, via the channels they want. Brands are adapting to this demand by offering curbside pickup, third-party delivery services, direct-from-social media purchasing, and a variety of other channels to cater to different consumer preferences.
Automated shipping is at the heart of all these innovations. To manage true omnichannel solutions, businesses need more and better data and a streamlined process that tracks inventory, offers real-time shipping notifications, and predicts future demand across individual channels.
True automation in omnichannel logistics requires more in-depth data regarding not only when a truck will arrive at the loading dock, but exactly what inventory is located on a specific pallet, where the load is currently located, and how soon the next shipment will arrive once the incoming materials are depleted. What is quickly becoming a need-to-have, advanced automation in logistics improves efficiency, increases profits, enhances the customer experience, and drives future growth.
As more channels are added to purchasing options, automation moves from being a benefit to a necessity for any retail company. Whether you ship directly to consumers or wholesale to other businesses, automation solves many expensive issues.
Logistics automation that accurately tracks inventory and provides real-time data helps to reduce errors in shipping and the supply chain as a whole. As goods and raw materials are accurately tracked, brands can make better decisions about what to order and market, and where to assign existing inventory.
Automation also can increase profits by reducing the need for refunds due to errors or delayed shipments, minimizing lost and oversold inventory, and driving long-term business strategy. And, contrary to popular belief, automation solutions can be affordable for all businesses; they are not out of reach for small or mid-sized retailers.
One way logistics automation makes a substantial difference is offering brands the ability to prioritize purchase channels. Artificial intelligence solutions can use accurate data to determine which channels are most profitable, and allocate inventory levels accordingly.
Too many companies try to build every channel simultaneously, giving equal inventory to each experience. The truth is that in every industry there are still purchase channels that receive a higher volume of sales, and some outlets simply bring in more profits.
This doesn’t mean that outlying channels should not be developed. On the contrary, expanding options allows for growth. However, distributing resources logically and prioritizing shipment dates yields better long-term results.
Companies that embrace logistics and shipping automation will be positioned not only to meet changing consumer demands, but also to have a solid foundation on which to tackle new and unforeseen challenges (like a pandemic).
Every automation implemented into your process improves efficiency. You can then use that valuable time elsewhere—to offer more services, innovate new products, or scale up to increase profits. And, the improved consumer experience leads to more satisfied and loyal customers.
Automation is not optional. Using automated services to manage logistics is the only way to meet consumers where they are and create a robust experience across multiple channels that will keep shoppers coming back for more.