A summary of the DC Velocity article, “Five-year outlook calls for more warehouse tech investments.”
Zebra’s 2022 Warehouse Vision Study, released this month, found that transportation and logistics executives expect a greater focus on technology that can help improve operations and meet business objectives without a greater focus on technology to improve operations.
The survey targeted 1,500 warehouse and DC decision-makers and associates across the globe to identify trends driving operational decisions and spending in the warehouse. While warehouse and DC operators are making considerable investments in technology and automation to meet customer and worker demands, and to more easily fill jobs, there’s clearly an appetite for more. The survey found that 90% of warehouse operators said they “must implement new technology to be competitive in the on-demand economy.”
The primary reasons behind the desire to add and accelerate technology investments include meeting accelerated fulfillment demands, improving decision-making, and creating a more enjoyable work experience.
Along with the productivity and efficiency improvements made possible by technology, the survey also found that warehouse associates strongly believe that autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) could make warehouse jobs less stressful. Nearly 80% of warehouse associates said that walking fewer miles per day – a key benefit of warehouse automation, according to many tech firms – would make their jobs more enjoyable, even if they had to pick or handle more items.
- 60% of decision-makers surveyed said they plan to invest in technologies that increase inventory and asset visibility within their warehouses and overall visibility throughout supply chains over the next five years.
- 90% percent expect their use of sensor-based technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID), computer vision, fixed industrial scanning, and machine vision systems to become more prevalent over the next five years.
- Investments in technologies that support workforce augmentation and workflow automation, including wearables, mobile printers, and rugged tablets, along with mobile dimensioning software that automates parcel and carton measurements are likely to be hot.
- While nearly 30% of warehouse operators have deployed some form of AMRs, that figure is expected to grow to 90% within five years.
“Most decision-makers believe investments in automation far outweigh the risk of doing nothing, and they are becoming more comfortable integrating all sorts of new technologies into their current operations and infrastructure.”
Mark Wheeler, Director of Supply Chain Solutions, Zebra Technologies