Investing smartly in warehouse technology

Future of Warehouse Technology

It’s like an open book about the high growth in e-commerce and the huge potential hide in warehouse technology. As per some global research paper’s outcome, over the next five years, the sales in the USA will reach from $335 to $523, a nearly 45 percent increase. And everyone knows that how warehouse employees are working round to clock to meet customer’s expectations, that too also affects the drastic changes in the future warehousing technologies to make it more convenient and precise. Well, to deliver goods on time and using data gathered from sensors, it notices patterns and suggests actions such as faster replenishment of nearly out-of-stock items, shorter walking routes, and better inventory positioning. Some AI features enable warehouse wearable technology.

So how global top CEOs plan to match these growing demands? The best answer is to implementation of technology and to invest it wisely. A recent global survey of more than 1300 IT and operations warehouse professionals across 12 countries opened some trade secrets of warehousing.

Future of Warehouse Technology

Warehouse technology trends by the year 2020:

  • 75 percent of decision-makers plan to adopt more modern, full-featured warehouse management systems (WMS).
  • 73 percent plan to equip staff with advanced visibility, barcode scanning, and/or computing technologies.
  • 76 percent anticipate investing more in real-time location systems that track inventory and assets throughout the warehouse.

The numbers are clear. If you’re not planning to upgrade your warehouse technology, you’re in the minority. Let’s delve deeper into this survey, conducted anonymously for Zebra, and explore what the warehouse of tomorrow might look like.

More organized operations

According to the Zebra Warehouse Vision Report, 76 percent of businesses are planning to increase the number of warehouses and distribution centers, while 61 percent plan to reduce space expansions and relocate existing structures. This would result in a greater number of smaller facilities, spread farther apart. In addition, 58 percent plan to invest in warehouse/truck loading automation technology.

The intent? Slash transportation costs (a major factor driving change according to 43 percent of respondents), speed up delivery times (critical to 41 percent of those surveyed), and take full advantage of new supplier and partner locations (important to 32 percent of decision-makers).

Better connected workforce to give precise outcomes

Forty-six percent of respondents cited labor performance/productivity and order turnaround time as the largest order picking and fulfillment issues, with order accuracy just behind at 41 percent. Considering that picking and fulfillment typically comprise 70 percent of a facility’s operating costs, it’s no wonder industry leaders are laser-focused on making improvements in this area.

Equipping staff with advanced technologies such as wearables, mobile handheld computers, and tablets can significantly impact your bottom line. For instance, multi-modal wearable solutions take advantage of the full spectrum of workers’ capabilities by:

  • Enabling voice-directed, hands-free picking
  • Allowing staff to view items and pick locations on the screen
  • Simplifying barcode and RFID tag scanning
  • Facilitating easy input of information via the touchscreen

The result? According to recent data, multi-modal wearable solutions can improve picking and fulfillment productivity by 15 percent and reduce errors by 39 percent.

Full visibility

The survey revealed that 62 percent of warehouse professionals plan to invest in the Internet of Things (IoT) to gain unprecedented visibility into every facet of the supply chain.

As the application of the IoT, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology gives managers the ability to know the precise location of everything from individual pallets to cases to SKUs at any given moment. No wonder over half of the survey respondents plans to more than double their usage of RFID for cycle counts and inventory validation by 2020.

As retailers strive to merge physical and digital operations, cut transportation costs and improve efficiency, the transition to best-of-breed, real-time warehouse management systems is nearly ubiquitous. But perhaps the most enticing aspect of the warehouse of tomorrow is that it can be achieved today. See the full Zebra Warehouse Vision Report to learn more