The warehouse industry is rarely a static one. To the contrary, as customer demand rises and product markets and shipping schedules change, logistics have to evolve in order to meet the challenges. Additionally, warehouse operations across the globe have to adopt the latest innovations if they are to keep up and remain competitive in such a demanding and ever-changing economic environment. To help you better position your warehousing company for ongoing success, we’ve identified the following 5 trends to watch and prepare for.
Increased Regulations for Recalls and Safety
Warehouses are often named as responsible parties whenever a product recall is issued and can be held accountable if they don’t track and limit distribution of tainted products. As a result, warehouse professionals can expect to see an increase in regulations and protocols surrounding product quality. Databases should be maintained with maximum accuracy and notification processes should be put into place to be executed upon notice of a recall.
Another area where regulations will likely become even more stringent is that of employee safety. To avoid potential accidents and the subsequent costly repercussions, those in charge of managing warehousing operations should consider investing in smart technology, such as automated gate systems and motion sensors.
Increased Adoption and Expansion of 3PL Solutions
Outsourcing to third party logistics providers, also known as 3PL, has become more of the rule than the exception these days. And while many of the smaller players in the industry have been bought out by larger competitors, the result has been a positive increase in adoption and an expansion in services offered. Now, 3PL companies are offering much more beyond the basics of logistics and delivering full-service, value-added options for more comprehensive solutions. As a result, warehouse managers will be able to manage inventory and ship products faster and at more attractive prices.
Mobile Technology Will Facilitate Greater Order Accuracy
Today’s mobile technology has opened doors of opportunity in just about every industry, and warehouse management is no exception. All trends indicate that there will be increased adoption of mobile devices within warehouse operations, including everything from handheld devices to RFID readers and barcode scanners as a means to streamline and optimize the inventory and shipping process. Some of the key areas that mobile technology is expected to provide added value in warehousing include product shipment scanning, more accurate inventory management and cycle counting, better materials allocation handling, shipment tracking data and real-time schedule updates, just to name a few.
Multichannel Solutions from Warehouse Management Systems
With the introduction and adoption of enhanced technologies, the warehousing industry has expanded well beyond what it once entailed. Retailers are now leveraging online selling and buying channels to attract and convert customers and many are even relying on third-party solutions to manage inventory and handle order fulfillment. As a result, those companies still maintaining stock in-house will increasingly require more scalable warehouse management solutions while 3PLs will have to find ways to meet the changing and increasing demands of customers.
Automation to Optimize Operational Processes
Another trend we’ve seen increase so far this year is the implementation of more automated technology as an integral component of the warehouse management process. Warehousing professionals are identifying areas where tasks can be shifted from human to machine, saving time and facilitating better resource allocation. As a direct result, operations is able to dramatically improve efficiency, boost productivity, improve accuracy and speed up processes for maximum output at minimum costs. The bottom line improves as does customer satisfaction, making it a win-win all around.
Without question, the warehousing industry is one where change is expected on a regular basis. In order to remain competitive in a highly saturated marketplace, management must stay abreast of the various trends occurring – like the 5 listed above – so that they may adapt and evolve alongside these changes and have the best chance of achieving ongoing success.
Do you have questions on these trends and how you can leverage them for your own warehousing company? Contact us today.