When you run a warehouse, you are always looking for ways to increase productivity, improve efficiency, and control costs. Unfortunately, just when you think you have done a good job at it, the market gets more competitive and your customers make more demands. Often, your once-effective warehouse management technology can no longer provide the efficiencies you need.
The stream of technology change has flooded businesses with new capabilities and processing power. Since the introduction of the Personal Computer in 1975, the mobile phone in 1983, and the World Wide Web in 1991, technology advancements and adoption have grown exponentially. Today, smartphones, cloud applications, and drones—to name a few—are changing the way we live and do business. Problems that seemed impossible to solve in the past are feasible today.
With all of this growth, it can be difficult to know when it is time to make changes in your warehouse. One moment, you feel as though you are on the latest and greatest—the next, a newer technology is made available and your system is dated. Sooner or later, you will need to make a change again in order to keep up with competition and customer demands. People have become accustomed to new technology and what it offers—instant access to products, service and data. When they don’t find what they need from you, they will get it from your competitor.
Technology changes have driven business growth and growth can lead to improved competitiveness and financial health. Some technology changes can decrease costs; others can improve the quality of our services. Jumping into new warehouse management technology can provide cost savings, improve customer satisfaction, and increase sales.
If change were easy, perhaps everyone would be doing it, but moving to a new technology platform can be daunting. Warehouse management technology change can be expensive and complex. And the decisions you make will impact your business for years to come. That means choosing the right hardware and software solutions is a critical part of your business strategy and success.
The problem remains: when does it make sense to change from what you are currently using to something new? There may be points when changing technology offers little value and other points where it will offer enormous benefit. There will come a time when the benefits of switching platforms will outweigh the costs. When you are trying to solve this problem, here are some steps to take and questions to ask.
Look at your current situation: An outdated technology solution can slow down your company and interfere with your warehouse efficiency. If you have a lot of manual processes, your software is not doing its job. It is important to identify processes that are negatively affecting profitability and customer satisfaction.
- Is what I am doing now working?
- Do my users like what they are using?
- What benefits will I get out of changing my solution?
- Do I have the infrastructure in place to make the move?
Look at new warehouse management technology: When you know that you are ready to make changes, you will have a vast array of options to choose from. You will need to consider functionality and cost. Price is only one piece of the total cost of ownership. As part of your analysis, you should identify all costs—software, hardware, customization, implementation, training and support. You need to determine if this technology increases warehouse efficiency, improves customer relationships and improves profitability.
- Does the solution cost less than what I am using now?
- What functionality do they offer that I can utilize in the future so I can grow my business?
- Does the product use the latest technology and has it been heavily field tested?
- How much down time will it take to switch?
Look at the new vendor: The technology decision can be made easier with the right vendor. Your technology vendor should recognize the importance of the new solution to your business strategy and provide product, service and support that will help you reduce costs, improve operations and optimize processes.
- Does the technology have a better team behind it to support me in the future?
- What has the company done differently that I can switch to and are they the industry leader?
- Can the new vendor provide me with references?
When you are ready to make a change in your warehouse management technology, Scanco offers warehouse tools and software that will help you take your warehouse to the next level of efficiency. Contact us for a free consultation.