Warehouse Stuck in the Neolithic Age? 4 Ways to Automate Your Facility

When it comes to the warehouse industry, the future is automation. This involves several components that all work together in order to get the task done. Here are some of the ways that you can automate your facility and bring it into the next century. 

Cartonization 

Through the use of technology, you can save some money on your shipping costs by employing cartonization methods. This is where the size and number of boxes are calculated in the most efficient manner possible to get the order out the door. Automation has made this task a little bit easier because your employees don’t have to spend time trying to get all of your customer orders packaged into boxes safely for shipment. 

Robotic Technology 

Another advantage when it comes to automation is through the use of robots.There are any number of robotic technologies that can used across a variety of different types of manufacturing fields. For example, robotic arms can be used to remove and stock whole pallets or individual items on a shelving system in your warehouse. This may eliminate some of the concerns that are more prevalent when it comes to workplace injuries that could occur. 

Automatic Pallet Wrapping 

It may take two employees for you to be able wrap up your pallets for shipping without the use of technology. Automatic pallet wrapping systems are available for you to purchase from companies like Fox Packaging Services. The point of many these machines is that your employees only need to position the pallet and then push a button in order to have it done in the most efficient manner possible. This will prevent the loss of products during the shipping process. 

Automated Labeling Systems 

Labeling all of your products can be a tedious process. It can also lead to mistakes if you have a person completing this task. Using an automated printing and label applying machine ensures that the label is done correctly and applied in the correct location all of the time. It allows your employees to focus on the more important tasks when it comes to running your warehouse. More quality control steps can be taken to ensure that your products are the best on the market. 

There are advantages when it comes to the use of technology in manufacturing and warehouses. More automation often leads to higher-skilled labor who can work to refine the process further. Consider these reasons when it comes to the benefits of upgrading your facility.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Five of the Best Marketing Automation Tools for Small Businesses

The day in the life of a small business owner is likely full of endless emails, conference calls, meetings, strategy sessions, and the occasional lunch break if they are lucky. Before they know it, the day gets away. This is why business owners depend on marketing automation. A robust marketing software prevents marketers from having to spend their time taking care of repetitive tasks such as creating email campaigns, audience segmentation, gathering web analytics reports, CRM management, and social media management.

While the initial set-up of these features is essential and involves careful strategy, once they are ready to go, automation can make all the difference. According to a study conducted by Venture Beat, 80 percent of marketing automation users saw their numbers of leads increase, and 77 percent saw a lift in the number of conversions. So, what are the best tools to get started? Read on for the best-rated marketing automation tools according to the leading business technology review site, TrustRadius.

HubSpot

HubSpot, one of the largest and most popular inbound marketing automation tools, is said to be used by over 18,000 customers in more than 90 countries. Marketers can set up email marketing campaigns, create landing pages, handle SEO and social media management as well as a host of other tasks. Reviewers of HubSpot on TrustRadius praise the product’s easy-to-use interface, practical training sessions, and ease of uploading content and creating landing pages. However, the integrations are still lacking, and users did find it difficult to get the level of reporting and analytics they truly needed for social media campaigns.

Marketo

Mid-sized companies enjoy the multiple uses of Marketo. In addition to the typical marketing automation tools, Marketo also allows marketers to personalize websites and optimize mobile engagement. Where Hubspot is still working on expanding their integrations, TrustRadius reviewers are impressed with the number of software tools Marketo can connect to for automation functions. Creating and scheduling email automation is also quick and convenient to handle according to TrustRadius reviewers. On the negative side, many cited that the complicated user interface and overall slowness in data reporting can bring a bit of frustration to marketers who are always on the go.

Hatchbuck

If you are looking for some help in managing workflows, automated sales alerts, and numerous helpful integrations with a smaller but just as strong system, Hatchbuck may be the best option. Small businesses are known to favor this system in comparison to mid-sized and larger enterprises. Reviews by TrustRadius users conveyed enjoyment with the drag and drop email creator, fast customer service, and quick email automation services. TrustRadius reviewers are not too fond of the challenge in creating custom reports and feel the campaign creation process could be a bit less clunky and more straightforward.

LeadSquared

For those who do not have the resources or time to invest in a system like Hubspot or Marketo heavily but still want solid automation results, LeadSquared may be the answer. In addition to the general inbound marketing features, LeadSquared can also help with event and webinar marketing as well as social profile integration. TrustRadius reviewers liked the system’s value when compared to other products, the number of APIs available, and very knowledgeable support staff. On the other hand, users need to watch out for a less than satisfactory user interface, and the difficulty in setting up drip marketing actions.

The Wrap Up

Regardless of a marketer’s comfort with automation, the budget they are working with, and the level of help their team needs to implement marketing strategy; there is a viable option out there for everyone. Marketers just need to be sure they know the most important features they need to take care of repetitive marketing tasks and increase the overall marketing ROI.

Chanell Alexander currently resides in Atlanta, GA. When she’s not traveling and trying new restaurants in the Metro Atlanta area, she writes about the latest technology and tools for TrustRadius,

 

 

 

What is mobile marketing automation?

There have been a lot of new terms that business people, customer service representatives, and marketers have come to know over the last few decades. Take mobile, for example: Where once we used to be desktop or laptop based work spaces and free time, in the past few years mobile has re-made how we do nearly everything. And mobile has grown at a pace that few expected when it was first introduced. In fact, mobile-only users are now expected to top over 50 million in just a few years. That means those people may not even have a laptop, at all.

So marketers have to figure out how mobile users are different than other users, and marketers also have to figure out how to use automation when possible in order to make their more complex job easier. How do they do that? This graphic explains it.

What Is Mobile Marketing Automation?

Speed Up and Simplify Your Everyday Business Tasks

Today, we have more tools than ever to make business easier. It would then be foolish not to utilize them, so that we and our employees can spend less time on those mundane tasks and more time doing things of real value that will help our businesses to grow.

Here are some of the ways that you can use automation to speed up and simplify your everyday business tasks:

Use Tech to Take Care of Your Finances

From using software to take care of your payroll tasks in a couple of clicks to using products like FreshBooks to take care of your accounts, it has never been easier to automate the financial side of your business. As well as the two examples above, you can use technology to schedule recurring invoice payments and pay the bills and use online banking to more closely and quickly monitor your bank accounts than ever before.

Automate Your Network Management Tasks

Network management tasks may be necessary, but they can also be very time-consuming and extremely tedious, so why not free up your staff by using an IT management solution like Spiceworks to automate them instead? You’ll never have to worry about monitoring your network again because Spiceworks will do it all for you.

Use Software to Track Your Leads

No matter what industry your business is operating in, it’s almost a certainty that following up leads will be high on your agenda. This is one of the best ways to make more sales, so it really is very important, but if you’re running a large business, it can be difficult to track all the hundreds and thousands of leads your company generates each month. With software like Salesforce, you don’t have to.

What Salesforce and similar products do is automatically capture leads from your website, assign them to the most appropriate members of your sales team. They can even forecast future sales activity and carry out marketing campaigns targeted closely at your leads. They really can save so much time and money.

Email Marketing Made Easy

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Image source

Email marketing is a very good way of increasing sales. Especially if you’re a relatively small online business. Of course, it is pretty time consuming too, well it is if you’re doing it all yourself anyway. To simplify and speed up the process of email marketing, all you need to do is use a program which can be programmed with rules, so that you can run a tightly-targeted marketing campaign, that will kick into action when a particular trigger goes off, contacting the right people at the right time. There are many such programs and investing in one could be one of the best purchases you ever make.

Schedule Your Social Media

Using social media is one of the best ways to advertise your goods and services in the 21st Century, but often you have more pressing concerns than sending out a Tweet to your followers. That’s where tools like Hootsuite come in. They allow you to schedule posts in advance, so you can schedule a blog of time to write them, specify the date and time you’d like them to go out and then get back to your other work.

Do you run a business? Which automation tools have you found to be most useful?

Salesforce Automation Improves Workflow

workflowAutomation helps business owners succeed in so many ways, so why aren’t you automating your Salesforce operations?

The sales process is complicated and currently takes a lot of time using traditional methods, and even then, you aren’t guaranteed results. All the while, other staff ends up having to take on tasks, such as data entry, in order to support your sales staff. In the end, this can lead to many hours of wasted productivity each day.

Multiply this by an entire year’s worth of work and you’ll quickly see how automating proves the better choice.

Smart Automation is Becoming a Reality

Now, even if you were to automate certain pieces of your sales puzzle, you may still face challenges.

One of the biggest issues in software automation is logic.

For example, if you were to automate your CRM system so that lead data was automatically populated from inbound lead data input, you still wouldn’t be able to automate the process of deciding which sales professional was going to be assigned to which lead and when.

In fact, in the article, “How to Automate Your Salesforce with Workflows,” the author discusses this very issue.

New technology allows for you to create rules and actions to logically determine where leads are prioritized, when they are prioritized, and how they are prioritized. This is something that previous automation technology was unable to do.

 

Workflows for Salesforce Also Provides Evaluation Options

When using the abovementioned Workflows for Salesforce, you have the ability to determine the evaluation options for criteria to take action.

Essentially, you are able to set rules that tell Workflows how often it should evaluate leads, thus providing your automated services with the ability to work within your specific business’ parameters.

This means that Workflows is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but instead, it can be tailored to your unique business needs.

Automate Actions Using Workflows to Reach the Right Professionals

Another benefit to using Workflows is that the actions it takes are based on your input.

You can use Workflows to reach out to leads on a specific basis, and because different leads require different levels of nurturing within the funnel, you no longer have to sort through leads in order to manually separate them.

The software logically does the work, allowing you to reach out in different ways on different levels to different leads at different times.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include Salesforce automation and digital marketing.