5 Issues Underperforming Distributors Have With Technology

Craig Pollack | Mar 21, 2016

5 Gotchas Underperforming LA Distributors Have With Their Warehouse Technology

If there’s one thing you don’t want, it’s technology getting in the way of your warehouse staff’s ability to fulfil your orders efficiently and effectively.  While often times your warehouse staff is siloed from your office staff, the technology they’re using in their day to day jobs shouldn’t be.  Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many distributors and wholesalers in Los Angeles view their technology separately and this leads to inefficiencies.  And many are so easy to correct!

Here are 5 easy gotchas to be on the lookout for in your warehouse technology:

1. Out-dated, tired, and dusty computers cluttering the warehouse floor

Your warehouse is the hub of your business, the center for everything. For this reason, it’s incredibly frustrating when we see a company using it as a kind of computer storage room, or even graveyard. The most efficient distributors will keep their technology up to date, well maintained, and in order, while the underperformers will be failing to make the most of the equipment available to them. Out-dated computers that are still connected to the network are going to reduce its capacity and effectiveness, slowing things down, reducing productivity, and creating something of a backlog for everyone else they work with. Dusty computers are also a potential fire risks if they’re left to overheat.

2. Poor Wi-Fi coverage

There’s no excuse for poor Wi-Fi coverage these days, and it’s a simple fact that a slow, or virtually non-existent signal is going to disrupt your workers’ productivity. Perhaps they can’t place, or check orders, have been unable to track a delivery, or are finding it difficult, and frustrating to conduct their day-to-day business. This can cause unprecedented damage to a distributor and its reputation, and should be avoided at all costs; ensure your network is as strong as it can be, and available all across your warehouse. It’s really be a small price to pay for an over-achieving business.

3. Unsecured Wi-Fi

If poor network coverage is a disadvantage to business, then an unsecured network has the potential to be incredibly damaging. As a distributor in an area as busy as Los Angeles you’re going to be handling a lot of sensitive information on a daily basis, including invoices, customer contact details, financial records, and employee data. Accessing an unsecured network or failing to password protect your own network sufficiently leaves you open to all kinds of threats.  And while sometimes rogue access isn’t deliberate or malicious, if you’re unsecured how do you know who’s viewing your information? And why would you want to pay for someone piggybacking onto your network for free.

4. Unguarded computers with out-dated security software

It’s a fact of warehouse life that you can’t be everywhere at once, and so there are always going to be areas of the floor that are without supervision at any given time. For this reason it’s incredibly important that equipment, such as computers, is kept in offices or in areas of the warehouse that will be well populated throughout the day. Lone computers are a huge temptation to opportunist thieves while security settings that haven’t been upgraded for a while will leave sensitive information open to attack. As well as keeping your computers out of harm’s way, it’s also important to regularly update your security settings, firewalls, and antivirus. Better safe than sorry.

5. Handheld scanners left unattended

We know how it is – your staff are busy and quickly change direction mid-task all the time.  Yet they’ve just finished scanning a few boxes and left the scanner sitting on a pallet of boxes in aisle twelve as they move to address a time critical shipping request. While workers in an underperforming warehouse would be guilty of leaving that scanner unattended, those that want to protect their business’s interests know they need to make sure to hold on to it or return it to its rightful place; you have enough to do without tracking down AWOL equipment, or worrying that somebody without security clearance is now accessing your database and list of stock. How well do you have your warehouse technology policies defined and how strong are they enforced?

Underperforming Los Angeles distributors are underperformers for a reason – and more often than not, it’s not anything intentional, but rather looking the other way at the obvious.  Either they fail to care for their technology, fall behind on security updates, or simply don’t recognize when their equipment, or technology, is holding them back. It’s easy to look at a messy, dirty warehouse and see the old, out-dated hardware as par for the course.  But the reality is, these are the easiest things to fix making a HUGE difference in the profitability of your business.  Issues like these are easy to fix – you just need to know where to look.

When was the last time you reviewed the technology in your warehouse? If you need help, just let us know. Also, share your experiences with us in the section for Comments below.

If you own or manage a whole distribution or manufacturing company in Los Angeles, and you’re looking to stay up to date on the latest technology, be sure to download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.


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Craig Pollack

Craig Pollack

Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology as efficiently and effectively as possible. With over 25 years of experience building the preeminent IT Service Provider in the Southern California area, Craig is one of the area’s leading authorities on how small to mid-sized businesses can best secure and leverage their technology to achieve their business objectives.