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The Warehouse of the Future

Recently, Zebra Technologies commissioned a global research study to analyze the trends and challenges that are transforming warehousing operations. The goal was to ask decision makers from manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail, and wholesale distribution industries for their insights on strategies for modernizing warehouses, distribution centers, and fulfillment centers over the next five years.

The responses offered by these IT and operational leaders highlight the level of transformation that warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment are undergoing to meet the requirements of today’s omnichannel, on-demand economy. The common refrain is that operations must modernize to keep pace with ever-increasing volumes, elevated customer expectations, and a global shortage of workers.

The Road to Modernization
According to the industry leaders surveyed, warehouse modernization is essential to meet critical challenges, and decision makers are concentrating on three important areas: devices and infrastructure, the warehouse management system (WMS), and automation.

If you’re warehouse operations aren’t at the forefront of modernization, you’re not alone. Somewhat surprisingly, 77% of Zebra’s survey participants recognize the need to modernize their warehouse operations but confess that they’ve been slow to implement new technology and systems.

That said, many leaders are moving forward, with 73% of organizations planning to equip workers with mobile devices. As part of the modernization effort, 83% of respondents reported they are currently using or plan to use Android devices the warehouse by 2024.

The WMS of the future will feed on real-time data from sensors and systems located throughout the supply chain and operations, so today’s decision-makers are focusing on asset visibility, real-time guidance, and data-driven performance. To enable these advanced WMS features, 55% percent of decision makers say they plan to evolve existing RTLS solutions or implement new RTLS solutions within the next five years.

According to 94% of survey responders, repetitive tasks such as scanning, sorting, and picking are still the norm in most warehouses, but 75% say they are equipping workers with purpose-built devices and technology to increase efficiency, speed, and accuracy. And 29% of decision makers indicate they plan to deploy full automation for some repetitive tasks by 2024.

As automation spreads, it will reach into even more workflows, with 90% of decision-makers saying they expect devices or automation to be involved in non-repetitive tasks in their warehouses within the next five years.

Modernizing your warehouse doesn’t have to require wholesale changes. If you’re looking for an incremental approach that will help you get the most out of your existing resources and prepare your warehouse for the future, contact ScanTexas today.