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The Visible Value Blog

Making Technology Deliver: How Warehouse Changes Can Drive Your Business

Posted by Daniel Dombach

April 29, 2015 at 9:10 AM

  

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If you can meet customer’s ever increasing expectations, you won’t only keep them satisfied and keep their business; you’ll also be helping to differentiate your business and drive its growth. 

 

Cost centre or growth centre?

A warehouse needn’t just be a storehouse. It can also be a powerhouse – driving a more efficient business by reducing costs, improving quality, raising customer service levels, and increasing margins and profitability.

 

However, the scale of warehousing is increasing dramatically. A survey of over 300 warehouse professionals by Zebra Technologies revealed that over half are planning to increase:

 

  • The number of SKUs
  • The volume of items carried and
  • Their annual inventory turnover

 

This increase in scale goes hand-in-hand with an increase in the size of the challenges to be addressed, if a warehouse is to generate growth rather than create costs. One way to address those challenges is by introducing technology solutions.

 

Putting down the pen

The same survey which showed how warehouses are scaling up, also showed how warehouse professionals expect their systems to change as a result, and how they intend to increase the efficiency of their operations to cope.

 

  • By 2018, only 12% of respondents expect to be using pen-and-paper-based processes
  • Almost 70% plan to increase automated processes by the same date
  • 68% plan to equip staff with more technology for tasks such as multimodal picking and real-time cycle counts
  • 66% plan to use handheld mobile computers with real-time access to WMS systems

 

And if you want to discover more about how your fellow professionals see the next five years for the industry – and how you can prepare your own warehousing operations for the challenges ahead – you can find out by downloading our whitepaper: From Cost Centre to Growth Centre: Warehousing 2018”.

 

 

Proof is in the picking

More technology in the warehouse increases visibility of data, which in turn increases efficiency. The benefits that flow from this are as clear, visible and incontestable as the data itself.

 

Belgian paint distributor Copagro, for example, automated its warehouse management system and saw an increase in daily pickings of 10%, at the same time as a reduction in administration of up to 30%. Order accuracy is now almost 100% – resulting in increased customer satisfaction levels – and other benefits include a better stock overview, accurate yearly inventories, and on-demand cycle counts. Which in turn lead to improved production planning.

 

So better access to more accurate information – through technology and the integration it enables – has led to improved visibility and performance not just in the warehouse but throughout Copagro’s entire business.

 

Steps to success

Introducing technology to meet the challenges of the future can deliver a major leap in efficiency, productivity and profitability for a business. But what are the next steps to enabling your warehouse to deliver flawlessly? To guide you through this process, download our free guide: 'Six steps to flawless fulfilment'.

 

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Topics: Supply Chain, Manufacturing, APAC, North America, Latin America, EMEA