Zebra Technologies Warehouse Vision Survey: Five-Year Outlook
Warehousing Industry Outlook To 2018
Shifting Perception of Warehouse Coincides with Increased Supply Chain Investments
More than one-quarter (26 percent) of respondents reported that company management views the warehouse and distribution centers as an asset that can drive growth for the business.
The most commonly cited reasons for the expansion of storage and distribution networks include a mix of cost-savings and revenue-growth initiatives such as, lower transportation costs (36 percent), shorter delivery times (35 percent), new suppliers and trading partner locations (31 percent) and heightened omni-channel pressures (11 percent).
By 2018, more than one-third of respondents (35 percent) plan to increase the number of warehouses and distribution centers they operate, representing a 71 percent increase from current expansion plans in action today.
Technology Investment Plans Change as Workflow Requirements Evolve
During the next five years, approximately two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents plan to increasingly automate processes by equipping staff with new technology solutions.
As the industry moves to reduce order fulfillment costs and increase worker efficiency and productivity, the picking and replenishment solutions of the next five years will shift more toward true multimodal operation, with a 142 percent increase in the integration of voice-directed and screen-directed picking on flexible mobile devices along with a 113 percent increase for voice-, scan- and keyed-response workflows.
Warehouse professionals expect a significant shift away from pen and paper-based processes (71 percent decrease) to handheld mobile computers and tablets (100 percent increase) for cycle counting and inventory validation by 2018.
Supply Chain Optimization Initiatives Focus on External Compliance and Internal Agility
The pace of supply chain re-evaluation and optimization is quickening as nearly two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents claimed that they are either constantly or annually re-evaluating their supply chain networks.
Internal agility initiatives and the need for intuitive, adaptable and flexible solutions are increasing in importance. Organizations seek to reduce the average training time it takes a new worker to hit full productivity by 44 percent (from 48 hours to 27 hours), while at the same time preparing employees to perform more types of procedures during a single shift as a result of a planned 60 percent increase in the use of task interleaving.
While only 67 percent of items received at a warehouse are bar coded today, respondents expect supplier management initiatives and trading partner compliance requirements to drive higher utilization in the coming years – reaching an estimated 84 percent by 2018.
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