Under the pressure of global e-commerce and logistics, local warehousing has its place. Fast delivery close to the customer, the ability to leverage the store network as part of building a customer experience, and enabling personal customer service are factors that global players cannot fully achieve.
However, in order to remain competitive, local warehouse needs to substantially develop the elements of efficiency, profitability and quality. This article summarizes the technological changes that are aimed at these elements. The material is based on data collected worldwide by Zebra (zebra.com).
The change forces in warehousing are easy to identify. Forrester Research estimates that global e-commerce will double over the next two years. More than 35% of companies are responding to this change by pursuing faster delivery times and lower shipping costs. About 20% of companies believe that changing storage strategies and strengthening multi-channel marketing are necessary trends. A rapidly rising trend is the collection and shipment of e-commerce orders from stores where the products are already available and close to the customer.
The new generation of collection systems requires efficiency, which is what new technologies are bringing to warehouses and stores. The importance of IoT, data analysis and machine learning is increasing in the optimization of transportation and logistics. The utilization of automation in warehouses is increasing by integrating human labor and automation into seamless services.
Enhancing the efficiency of personal work in warehouses and stores is the single biggest trend. 66% of companies surveyed believe that they will increase the efficiency of personal work with mobile systems. Particular emphasis will be placed on augmented reality solutions, such as deploying smart glasses and bringing voice control to handheld and tablet solutions. The market for systems that utilize voice control and traditional mobile interface at the same time is expected to grow by over 140% over the next three years.
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