Think back to only a few years ago. How much of your purchasing did you actually do in a store? Since then, has that activity grown or diminished? The likely answer is that you spend less time scanning shelves and standing in checkout lines than you once did. In fact, the number of online shoppers in the United States has grown by over 16.8% since 2010.
The challenge that faces cosmetics & health and beauty suppliers isn’t that fewer people are visiting retail locations; it is how to meet the demands of consumers leveraging the convenience of different e-commerce platforms. Higher velocity item and greater shipping volume can pose a logistical obstacle. However, new consumer demands and challenges generate massive amounts of data that can be used to hone your supply chain. However, this new access to consumer information is as good as your ability to collect it.
In distribution centers worldwide, automation is catching on for a variety of reasons. Robotics, along with conveyor and sortation systems, all increase accuracy and efficiency. Data collection is another avenue that can be automated as well. Automated data collection (ADC) uses software and hardware in a variety of ways to seamlessly collect and analyze the growing amount of information passing through a warehouse each day. Here are a few of the elements that make ADC possible:
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)
These tags can be placed on entire pallets, packages or individual products. Automated scanners can identify everything from origin of product to final destination, and even special instructions.
OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
This technology can identify text from print and translate the information to be used by a computer. These systems remove almost all manual input and provide higher accuracy, by removing the chance for human errors.
RF (Radio Frequency) Terminals
These terminals allow your entire warehouse to communicate use new information as it becomes available. The benefits include greater visibility and increased awareness of pertinent information.
Affordability and Durability
Any or all of these elements can work together or independently to manage demand. These technologies are becoming both more affordable and more durable, making them widely accessible for a wide range of DC and warehouse activities. These implementations also aid in meeting both vendor and government compliance.