As retailers battle through the remainder of this year’s holiday peak season, there’s one question I consistently hear across the board from all retailers: How do we stay competitive and deliver a delightful customer experience that keeps them coming back again and again? After having experienced 13 holiday seasons throughout my career, the answer lies in speed and accuracy.
So how can you prepare for the next peak season? First step – start now! Second, AI powered robotics are a must if you want to remain relevant. Here are three things to start now to prepare for the next peak:
1. Reduce the Burden of the Staffing Shortage
AI powered robotics make your processes more efficient and require less manpower in your distribution centers. One robot has the potential to fill several employee shifts, allowing you to level-up your workers’ skills and hire less people during peak season.
As an example, our customer Gap, Inc., uses robots to sort items at its distribution center in Gallatin, Tenn. In previous years, the company had to increase its human workforce by six times to keep up with demand during peak seasons. After putting robotics in place, they now require much less workforce ramp up during peak periods.
2. Fulfill Orders More Quickly
End-consumer happiness is a KPI for online retailers and it starts on the warehouse floor. With some major retailers offering same-day or two-day shipping options, the pressure is on to fulfill orders quickly.
The reality is that humans get sick, they need breaks, they can’t work 24 hours straight and unfortunately, they quit. The beauty of robots is that they constantly work at a consistent pace without a shift change, distraction, taking breaks or falling ill, which helps you meet your throughput goals. Robots provide consistent output, and in turn, faster order fulfillment. That can be the difference between a bad review and a happy customer.
3. Increase Order Accuracy
According to one survey of 300 supply chain and distribution managers, fulfillment centers across the U.S. lose an average of $585,000 per year due to mis-picks. While humans are the most accurate workers, mistakes happen when employees are assigned to mundane, repetitive tasks such as picking. Robots with AI combined with automated scanning capabilities guarantee that product data and order fulfillment is accurate.
Now is the time to prepare for the next peak season to delight your customers to drive repeat purchases. Using intelligent robotic technologies, you can grow your operations as demand increases, create a dynamic workforce that marries automation with human skills, and increase throughput and accuracy. We’re here to help!