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5 Challenges & 5 Trends Facing Your Drinks Wholesale Warehouse In 2019

Drinks Wholesale Warehouse 15 March, 2019

There are people out there working in warehouses throughout the UK and Ireland who are still using pens, paper and Excel spreadsheets to manage their stock and bond. Sound familiar? Take a short walk with us as we outline some of the key challenges and trends facing your drinks warehouse next year…

5 Warehousing Challenges in 2019!

Challenge 1
Holding Excess Stock
If you find yourself continually holding too much stock, this can be symptomatic of several issues in your current warehouse management system. Is your forecasting poor? Is the relationship between your warehouse manager and sales manager leading to poor order making?

Holding too much stock could lead to huge losses in terms of profit. How? Well, you may find yourself having to run promotions to move stock out of your warehouse. Such promotions would need to be conducted at a loss, meaning that cuts may need to made elsewhere to make up for said losses.

Challenge 2
Poor Picking Journeys
A poor picking journey is generally based upon poor data management, poor location tracking and an absence of warehouse mapping technology. If you have not optimised your ideal picking journey in your warehouse, you’re in for another year of increased labour costs, with both time and money wasted on arranging returns on account of any mis-picks that take place.

The further effect of mis-picking and an un-optimised picking journey could be that existing customers lose patience with a process that occasionally fails to meet demand. It’s time to invest in new ERP software, your competition is!

Challenge 3
A Reliance on Paper & Pens
It’s crazy to think that you could be making decisions based on several versions of the truth, coming from a number of manually created Excel documents from different business units.

Did you know that 29% of all Excel spreadsheets contain errors? What’s the long-term effect of this on your business? Would you be happy to know that almost a third of your decisions could be based on incorrect data? What’s that doing in relation to warehouse space allocation? How do you know what your stock levels are or should be? Are blind counts properly supplanted by incorrect spreadsheet numbers?

Imagine trying to operate a bond without a technological system in place to keep you right in relation to product tracking and reporting? Think of the fines!! In 2019 rid your life of pens, paper and manually produced spreadsheets!

Challenge 4
Ignoring Staff Development
‘What happens if we invest in training our staff and they leave?
‘What happens if we don’t train them and they stay?’

If your warehouse is still being managed manually without any technological improvements of late, you may need to consider hiring a consultant who has experience in introducing new ways of working into warehousing and logistics businesses. You HR department, or an outsourced HR professional, should be able to offer guidance in relation to training requirements, business-related improvements that can be generated with staff development and can give you a steer regarding finding the best talent that can help you to achieve the efficiencies and growth that you’re looking for.

Challenge 5
Measuring the Wrong Metrics
In relation to performance, what do you measure in your warehouse? What’s important to you? Or do you not measure anything at all?

The only way that you can make improvements is by reflecting honestly on your current state. What is the honest state of your warehouse operations? Do you really need to measure the amount of times that staff go to the toilet throughout the day? Check out the metrics below that are deemed as being the norm in the warehousing industry. If you’re not measuring these KPI’s, why not?

Total property/occupancy costs as percentage of total facility costs
Warehouse costs as percentage of gross sales
Warehouse costs per sales order
Sales per cubic metre of warehouse space

Remember, you’re not just measuring floor space, you’re measuring pallet and stack height too.

5 Warehousing Trends in 2019!

Trend 1
Drone Technology

The future is now! As we speak, Amazon as drones flying around its warehouses, carrying out stock checks, picking items and monitoring product movements. Supply chain specialists are claiming that a single drone can carry out the tasks of 100 workers. Not only can drones move quicker, and ensure that pallet stack height isn’t an issue, they can also scan and spot items at a distance of 10’s of metres.

There is a fear from workers that robots and drones could replace them, and unfortunately their fears are based on accurate predictions, but the opportunity for business efficiencies is huge.

However, the risk of crashing and injuring people is possibly too palpable for anyone to investigate such a technology until the model has been proven to a larger scale and has gained trust throughout the industry.

Trend 2
Mobile Device Technology
Mobile devices are already being used throughout the sales and distribution process by reps and retailers. The technology is being used to equip reps with the information they need to increase sales, while retailers are using mobile devices to accept card payments and reduce queue times in stores. So, how can warehouse managers better utilise mobile technology?

Well, for starters, 66% of those in the warehousing industry expect to move away from manually created spreadsheets in 2019. The introduction of an ERP system in your warehouse can ensure that data which is exists is consistent, up-to-date and transparent across your drinks or logistics business. Your warehouse staff can access information in relation to stock levels, product movement and bond system performance in a matter of seconds, rather than searching through spreadsheets or making calls to those working in an administrative capacity in your offices. Improved mobile camera technology can allow you to scan items and have bar code information delivered straight into your centralised database. Improved durability means that devices can last longer and retain battery life better than ever before.

Trend 3
Internet of Things
Smart warehousing is the future! We already have fridges that can tell us when our milk levels are low, and whether or not we’re storing enough water within our own pre-defined parameters. This is how the warehouse of 2019 should operate. Sensor technology can be placed on workers, on transportation units and onto pallets. No more manually scanning items throughout their journey, the sensors speak to each other and the data is automatically stored on your ERP system.

The data created by the sensor’s movements will be used to plot optimised product journeys in relation to saving time and delivering efficiencies. You could even track lorries and get an exact understanding for your product’s delivery times, resulting in fuel and driver efficiencies. SkyNet is already here, so let’s make some money from it before it finally takes control!

Trend 4
E-Commerce to Increase Orders
You’ve shopped online, right? Whether it’s your grocery shopping or maybe your Christmas shopping, most of us have made an online purchase at some point.

Now, it’s time to be honest; When you bought a pair of shoes, did you also buy the jeans or socks that appeared as you went to the online checkout? You did, didn’t you? It’s ok, so did I.

Imagine you could do that with your warehouse. Imagine the contents of your warehouse existed as an online shopping experience so that your customers could order goods 24/7, and that you could upsell and cross sell products to them based on their shopping habits! That’s going to lead to a massive reduction in your cost per sale.

Brown Forman recently developed an e-commerce site that grew engagement and lowered their cost per sale by running promotions that only existed on the new website. They also offered frills such as personalised branding and packaging on bottles of Jack Daniels!

To help you keep up with this growing e-commerce trend and to gain an advantage on your competition, you should get in touch with us using the details below. Gaina’s web portal offering integrates with Control-IT, our ERP Software, and ensures that your business never sleeps!

Trend 5
Voice Assisted Picking
This isn’t exactly new for 2019, but it’s definitely going to become more prominent. Think of voice assisted picking as a really productive working relationship between a human and a machine that not only listens to you, but talks back. Warehouse operatives can programme commands relating to what items they need to pick, their quantity and the order in which items will be picked. Your device can tell you where to go and can verify the products that have been scanned or picked.

Voice picking is also fantastic for conducting warehouse counts. All you have to do is scan a bar code and state the number of items you have found; your device will acknowledge this and update your system. Worried about calculating individual products and cases? Voice assisted picking allows you to carry out voice-initiated calculations. Voice picking is proven to reduce errors and decrease count time in a multitude of industries, including the beverage industry, leading to savings in relation in time and reduced errors. Roger that.

If you have any specific queries relating to warehouse management, if you have concerns about falling profitability in your drinks business, and if you want to learn more about how ERP software can help you drive efficiencies while generating growth, get in touch using the form below

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