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.
Organisations now have more materials and products to manage, and the overall process has become more intricate as customers are ordering smaller amounts, more frequently. In addition, consumers have come to expect goods and services instantaneously, as well as access to alternative return and delivery verification methods, which puts an increasing strain on overall delivery timelines.
In a recent study on labour management, adopting more efficient warehouse and store level processes was the most cited pressure for managers to address in terms of profitability and reducing operating expenses.
However, the e-commerce landscape is changing as well. Now more than ever, consumers have multiple media through which they can purchase goods and services – and this omni-channel shopping approach is becoming a fundamental element in the warehouse supply chain.
Record levels of omni-channel shopping also brings a greater level of complexity and dynamism to warehousing which has resulted in a renewed emphasis on speed, efficiency and most importantly, accuracy to avoid unnecessary errors and costs.
How can warehouse managers streamline their existing supply chain processes, determine how to improve KPIs to deliver flawless fulfilment, and achieve overall warehouse efficiency?
Thanks to technological innovations available today, warehouses can look to optimise end-to-end operational processes with sophisticated warehouse solutions. Now, warehouses have at their disposal the necessary technology to meet the demands of the modern consumer, which will enable them to scale their business operations, reduce costs significantly, expand their own infrastructure, and accelerate processes.
Not only is the supply and demand landscape changing, but so is the warehouse environment and workforce: most notably warehouses are re-evaluating their existing capacity and restructuring accordingly. This means higher racks to utilise more space effectively and the introduction of additional materials handling equipment such as forklift trucks, long-range scanners, and enterprise-grade mobile technology.
Additionally, having an array of comprehensive solutions such as automatic identification tools, RFID tagging and RFID portals for example, can not only provide real-time data acquisition, but also improve inventory visibility across the supply chain. Furthermore, wearable technology (which is continuously connected to a central warehouse network and interlinked with devices across the warehouse) provides extensive benefits to operators on the ground by improving accuracy, picking rates, task management and staff communication.
To discover how you can make your warehousing operations more agile and enable unprecedented insight to respond to customer demand, download our eBook 'How to Improve Workforce Productivity, Engagement and Agility in the Warehouse' by clicking here or the button below: