zebra logo

The Visible Value Blog

What’s coming in, what’s going out? The future of warehousing in 2018

Posted by Daniel Dombach

July 21, 2015 at 11:11 AM


What’s going on in warehouses around the world? And what will be going on 3 years from now?


Knowing the answers now can help to ensure that your own warehouse operations are not left behind, and that you are not still running a basic storage facility, while your competitors are operating advanced and powerful assets for competitive differentiation and profitable business growth.


Through the recent Warehouse Vision survey by Zebra Technologies, we know that many of your competitors plan to make significant changes to the way their warehouses operate, over the coming 3 years.  


For example:

  • the number using mobile handheld computers or tablets for real-time data access is set to double
  • 69.5% will be investing in increased automation
  • 65.5% will invest in equipping staff with technology
  • almost a third are planning to move to a full-featured WMS.


These are all responses to the evolution – virtually a revolution – taking place in warehouses, as the way they are perceived by forward-looking warehousing professionals’ changes from cost centre to growth centre.


New realities and real-time

The changes in warehouses are being driven not only by changing perceptions but also by changing realities.


Facilities are growing in scale and number within each enterprise; they are handling an ever-increasing number of SKUs; they are facing more and more stringent traceability demands to meet new regulations. And at the same time, they are expected to do more, more quickly, more cost-effectively and with fewer errors.


As the Warehouse Vision survey has shown, to achieve the increased flexibility, faster and more accurate fulfilment, and increased inventory control that’s demanded, the vision of more and more warehouse professionals is to turn their facilities into lean, real-time operations powered by mobile technology and solutions.


But how easy is it to make that vision a reality?


6 key issues

The latest White Paper from Zebra Technologies identifies 6 key issues which need to be addressed, if the vision of the warehouse as growth centre is to be realised. They are:


1. IT and Operations alignment

2. Flawless fulfilment

3. Inbound handling

4. Storage and inventory

5. Pick and fill

6. Outbound handling.


Addressing the challenges which these areas represent, and achieving the desired outcomes, will require increased flexibility, increased automation, increased integration, and – above all – real-time access to a best-in-class, future-proof, WMS.


Is knowledge power?

Knowing there is an urgent need to change is not the same as having the power to do so. But knowing what’s required to achieve the change can give you that power.


The Warehousing 2018 White Paper from Zebra Technologies – From Cost Centre to Growth Centre – provides a valuable insight into how warehousing operations and IT professionals are responding to the changes and challenges ahead. It is a vision of the future, but steeped in practical knowledge and experience which can be applied today.


To download your copy, simply click here

Subscribe to the Visible Value Blog

Topics: APAC, North America, Latin America, EMEA, Wearables