Motorola Solutions conducted a recent study that reveals the plans of logistics, manufacturing, retail and wholesale companies. See below how warehousing operations and IT professionals are responding to significant changes and challenges that will face the industry over the next five years.
The global recession forced wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers to cut expenses on inventory and downsize wherever possible. Now, the economy has begun to grow, and warehouse operations are growing again, too. However, this doesn’t seem to happen only as increasing volumes, but in automation and streamline of processes as well.
The need for increased inventory control, flexibility, speed, and more accurate fulfillment is high, especially as companies consider more and more of their warehouses and distribution centers as assets for competitive differentiation.
Automation of operational processes and equipping staff with technology seem to be the main areas to be improved.
Another aspect that will be taken care of will be creating a linkage between siloed information regarding operations:inventory information, shipping information, accounting of orders etc. Companies are planning to unlock value by providing a single source of accurate information.
There will be a strong shift away from homegrown and basic WMS solutions, with 68 percent of organizations moving incrementally to best-of-breed, cloud-based and full-featured inventory management system. Survey responses indicated that while about 40 percent of today’s organizations are not currently pursuing increased mechanization to streamline processes, this percentage shrinks to 17 percent by 2018.
“In the next five years, warehouse storage and inventory processes are poised to undergo a seismic shift, moving from still prevalent pen and paper processes to automated and mechanized inventory solutions. With these new automated processes, cycle counts will be performed more often and with less effort, increasing inventory visibility, and leading to more accurate fulfillment, fewer out of stock situations and fewer lost sales. More confidence in inventory accuracy will lead to a new focus on optimizing mix, expanding selection and accelerating inventory turns.”
Counting stocks manually using using pen and paper leads to many errors and inefficiency. Most of the times, operations managers found themselves dealing with outdated information that significantly limits decision making. A growing business will require even more inventory handling and manual operations are an absolute no-no. Succeeding businesses will be the ones that use warehouse management systems that completely reflect what is on the shelves at any moment.
As you can notice, the competition will get fierce and technology is the element that will enable business growth and competitive edges. You might want to start equipping yourself with it and be able to stay ahead of other wholesalers and retailers in terms of inventory management and fulfillment operations.
All those of you who still use pen-and-paper, spreadsheets and Excel files for handling operations, or even complicated and old software that doesn’t connect your inventory to other operations processes, you might want to take a look at cloud-based solutions. They are actually more easy to use than your current solutions, although it may sound as a huge technological leap.
TradeGecko is here to help you succeed by enabling smooth operations and linkage with other business processes. It is an online inventory management software that is absolutely easy to use and that connects with your ecommerce websites, accounting activities and shipping.
Souce: Motorola Solutions
Download the full study on the future of warehousing here