In an industry where operations see thin margins, inadequate pay and abundant inefficiencies, operators are turning to technology to help them regain control of their company. In the warehouse, specifically, technologies have been developed that not only cut employee costs, but help eliminate spoilage and create precise pre-kits, driving efficiencies and leading to overall higher revenues for vending and micro market operators.
Here are three ways – whether you’re a vending operator, micro market operator, or both – that your technology can work for you in the warehouse:
With the addition of micro markets into the vending space, warehouse management becomes even more important. Many operators in micro markets offer hundreds of SKUs and therefore up the chances and amount of spoilage possible. Technology can help operators know exactly what they need in stock, so they can order by the case or box rather than the pallet, saving space and reducing throw-aways. Pro-tip: Inventory management technology can track expiration dates, so you know just when your product is getting down to its last days.
Create more accurate pre-kits
Pre-kitting is a necessity for maintaining an efficient warehouse, and is driven by vending management system technology. Pre-kitting with a pick-to-light system has been shown to reduce spoilage, eliminate the rolling warehouse, save time and cut down inventory, in addition to eliminating human error. Rod Nester, president of Smith Vending, told VendingMarketWatch.com last year that after he invested fully in an automated warehouse, he saw more accurate pre-kits, as well as a return on investment in six months. Pro-tip: Managing inventory properly is key to making a profit – some pick-to-light technology can give operators a detailed pre-kit cost analysis by unit, tote, route, etc.
Eliminate extra labor costs
If you don’t know what’s going in and out of your warehouse, how do you know if you’re running an efficient route? Data can tell you exactly which product should be coming in and going out, allowing operators to consolidate routes, eliminate extra vehicles on the road and get rid of the rolling warehouse (which also lessens fuel costs). It also can help reduce extra labor costs. Rather than a driver picking his/her own route, operators can hire pickers for less money to pick product for delivery, which in turn will give drivers more time to spend servicing more machines and micro markets.
The topic of warehouse and inventory management is at the forefront as more operators become involved in micro markets. As discussed above, micro markets mean more SKUs, which can create chaos in a warehouse that is already full of vending product. Use technology to regain control of your inventory.