Electronic Retailer - January 2012 - (Page 35)

GUEST VIEWPOINT BY JACK SANDBACH Low-Tech Industries Adopt Modern Technologies and Pass on Savings t There are high-tech industries, and there are low-tech allowed the warehouse to begin migrating toward a paperindustries. Nanotechnology is obviously high-tech. So is the less system and reduced overhead by keeping fulfillment telecommunications industry. Packaging and distribution – organized. The system helped slash the company’s costs by that’s low-tech – right? well more than 15 percent to date and was a major attracPackaging and distribution is a relatively basic concept. tion for prospective clients. Warehouse workers assemble products, pack them into Before we had the system, a tremendous amount of boxes and ship them. So it might come as a surprise that paperwork went into every single order. After the order was today’s leading packaging and distribution companies are received and printed, it had to be slated for shipment or also burgeoning into the world of high-tech. picked from bulk locations throughout the warehouse and Why add sophisticated methodologies to something so moved to the picking area. In certain cases, the order also basic? had to be assembled, which meant printing a separate set of The answer is simple: Traditionally low-tech businesses instructions and statements. All this didn’t even include the (and their clients) will end up spending more money if countless reports necessary to track inventory, batch codes the warehouses fail to embrace modern technologies. In and expiration dates. addition, the low-tech contingency won’t be able to quickly But keep in mind new technologies and systems don’t increase capacity to serve a new and growing client base have to cost millions. A few hours of research will unearth without disruption and encountermultiple software and hardware ing customer service issues. options that can help you achieve Tips for Evaluating Your During the past 20 years, I’ve spent various objectives and results. Packaging, Distribution time on the technology side developBusinesses large and small can ing software for a cosmetics company and Warehousing Company lower paper costs, save on docuand a packaging and distribution ment archiving and storage, and Be sure to determine if your provider: company. I’ve also been both the improve inventory tracking and • Uses sophisticated technologies and client and the owner of packaging customer reporting – all through software: This directly impacts accuracy, and distribution warehouses. In modest technology improvements timeliness of delivery, customer service each case, I learned that embracing and investments. and cost savings. technology is one of the “best prac• Provides remote access to all vital fulfillManpower, Customer tices” for the traditionally low-tech ment information: This ensures optimal Service and Human industry of packaging and distribucustomer service and save you time. Error Costs tion. Spending money on the right • Is located in an area that optimally technology helps any traditionally The cost-savings made permisserves your customer base: Location low-tech company cut costs, which sible by an elaborate computer impacts delivery costs and timeliness of it can then pass along to the client network spills into manpower shipments. in the form of competitive rates and hours as well. With pick-and-pack • Generates sufficient volume: A provider enhanced customer service. workers spending less time on should offer deeper discounts on such organizing shipments, a warehouse costs as FedEx and UPS rates due to The Proof is in the Paper can increase the number of cushigher volume. High-volume fulfillment Use my own warehouse as an tomers it serves using the same centers receive sizeable discounts that can example. Over the past seven or number of workers. It can also be passed along to the customer. eight years, we invested well over $2 lower prices for its customers. This • Has the ability to quickly scale up or million dollars in a computer system high-tech solution also translates down according to its customers’ needs: that speaks to handheld controllers directly to fewer customer service This allows companies to focus on buildthat assembly line workers use when hours, something that pleases both ing their own business instead of learning packaging and shipping goods. the client and the company. and implementing new systems to fulfill This outlay might seem like a lot Our system also includes a feaorders or, worse yet, using antiquated and of money for a warehouse, but our ture that allows our customers to inefficient systems. expansive computer network has know immediately what inventory 35 January 2012 | electronicRETAILER http://www.electronicretailermag.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - January 2012

Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
eMarketer Research
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index
SENSAtional Marketing
When Words Can Hurt
‘Because They Can’t Afford to Get Sick’
Guest Viewpoint
Guest Viewpoint
Inventor’s Corner
Payment Processing
Member Spotlight
Advertiser Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Rick Petry

Electronic Retailer - January 2012