With online sales projected to top $20 trillion by 2020 , demand for delivery services is rising. Growth comes with challenges – customers are pressing for ever faster delivery, environmental and compliance legislation are changing constantly, automation is set to radically disrupt things and agile competitors are circling. With a greater need to help teams and drivers work more effectively mobile devices, that were initially rolled out to provide proof of delivery (PoD), could be doing much more.
Has any industry undergone such rapid change in a short period as warehousing? From being seen as a line item cost, businesses now look to warehouses to create a competitive edge by improving the quality of customer service, and the speed and accuracy of deliveries. What’s more, innovation is necessary as the sheer volume and challenge of warehousing work is changing. Our customers tell me that orders are more complex, SKUs are rising fast, peaks are ever more extreme and new workflows need to be introduced (e.g. for proof of delivery and processing returns).
Warehouses are predicting a 42% increase in SKUs and 70% increase in volume of items shipped by 2020. And with customers demanding ever fast delivery and flawless fulfillment the pressure is on to deliver. Temporary workers are crucial to ensuring that warehouses can cope – especially around peak times that are becoming ever more extreme. Some of our larger customers can employ hundreds and sometimes thousands of workers at these times.
Warehousing has – and is – changing. The ever-increasing consumer and business demands of the 21st century means that warehouses are constantly striving to deliver goods and services to customers quickly and efficiently. Every inch of the warehousing operation is now scrutinised to reduce error and improve turnaround time to achieve ever more stringent Key Performance Indicators (KPI). This dual-pronged pressure from both consumers and businesses means that there are a number of challenges facing the modern warehouse to create a flawless customer experience. Indeed, every aspect of the warehouse process is becoming more complex and dynamic due to five accelerators simultaneously affecting flawless fulfilment: volume, velocity, variation, verification and volatility.
With the capabilities of technology continually increasing, along with escalating levels of consumer demand, warehouses are undergoing a period of unprecedented change.
It’s a fact: people want access to their goods faster - that will never change. But in order to meet that demand and facilitate the provision of an efficient service, warehouses are being restructured and incorporating more cost effective and efficient technology to accelerate and expand business operations.
How much can your rugged handheld warehousing scanners really withstand?
Achieving flawless fulfilment is top of the priority list for retailers as customer expectations continue to rise. As a result, warehouses are under increasing pressure to improve performance, with 76% planning to ship more items across additional locations by 2020. As retailers sharpen their focus on cost reduction, they must find new ways to maximise efficiency throughout their entire supply chain operations or risk failing behind competitors. Many warehouses have already created extremely sophisticated workflows that appear to offer little room for any substantial improvements in performance. However, advances in technology are enabling retailers to improve the efficiency of their processes and make significant productivity gains.