It is just a matter of time before digital transformation will come to every warehouse and distribution center. Fewer errors, saved time, lower operational costs and improved customer satisfaction are among the key benefits that digital Warehouse management system offers.
However, not all facilities dare to take a decisive step towards digital transformation. Often, this delay and unwillingness to change are fueled by false beliefs and incorrect information.
Bad previous experiences and thinking that it is a difficult process are some of the most common digital transformation stoppers.
Bad Previous Experiences
Before adopting new technologies or processes, most businesses look for references and the warehousing industry is no exception. When it comes to IT solutions, everyone is looking at their competitors and market leaders for guidance. Do our competitors use it? Has the investment paid off? Are there better alternatives?
It is a good practice as long as the findings are not taken for granted and critically evaluated. This is where all the trouble begins. We notice quite a few cases where digital transformation is stopped because of the arguments that others tried doing that and failed.
This is where knowing the full context is everything. Here is a recent case that we had. The warehouse manager was looking for dock scheduling software that could automate manual processes and streamline the entire workflow. He asked other warehouse managers to share their experiences with dock scheduling platforms and got two very different answers. One manager said that the Dock scheduling software wasn’t worth the time and money, while the other said the complete opposite - that it was the best investment they made.
Since we were curious, we reached out to both of them to conduct more in-depth interviews on why they thought so. Turns out, that the first manager was using a dock scheduling software that was developed as a custom module on their ERP system. It was slow, missing important features and quite expensive to develop and maintain. The second warehouse manager was using specialised dock scheduling software. It was a cloud-based software that could be easily integrated with other systems for which they paid a monthly subscription fee based on their usage.
Now, when you look at these two situations, at first, they sound similar - both managers said they were using a Dock scheduling software. But with a bit more context, you can clearly see that they were talking about two different things. When looking at other companies' experiences, make sure you get all the context so that you could compare apples to apples.
Easier Than It Seems
Talking to hundreds of warehouse managers each month, revealed that many people think that warehouse digital transformation is a difficult process. In fact, it is not difficult at all. To put it very simply, warehouse digital transformation is automating manual processes and using newly available data to improve operations.
Take dock scheduling as an example. Replacing phone calls, whiteboards and email sending with a specialised Dock scheduling software is already a step towards digital transformation. It doesn’t mean that you need to digitalize every aspect of our warehouse operations. Start with small projects and digitalize your operations step by step.
Checklist for Smooth Digital Transformation of the Warehouse
Here goes the checklist for you as a warehouse manager to look up while choosing digital tools for dock scheduling and warehouse management:
- Map out the efficiency killers you want to eliminate at your warehouse
- Check the case studies of market peers and analyze the tools they use
- Clarify what problems were solved by market peers who use digital tools
- Consult with market experts what solution might be most convenient for your pain points
- Check on digital tools for your problem solving online
- Focus on the short onboarding process of the tool
- Consider unified tools instead of custom-built
- Consider pricing as there are solutions that have additional costs for upgrading, support, onboarding, etc.
- Try free trials
- Do not be afraid to change tools to find the one that best fits your needs
- Measure cost-benefit metrics of the tool
- Remember there is no way back to manual work
We have also prepared a checklist for planning your docks smartly.
A good Dock scheduling software will be a successful step towards your warehouse's digital transformation.
Give us a chance to streamline your processes and cut your operational costs. Book a 20 min call with our expert to get started!