Enterprises are expected to increase the number of warehouses as global online sales continue to grow, according to a survey conducted by Zebra Technologies.
Warehouse executives surveyed say they plan on equipping staff with new technologies to meet the needs of increasing shipment volumes.
The global survey compares input from over 1,000 information technology and operations warehouse professionals from retail, manufacturing, logistics, transportation, and wholesale distribution sectors across countries – including Australia, China, and India – on expectations for 2015 through to 2020.
Findings of the study include the following:
– In Asia Pacific, 74% of respondents have plans to outfit their warehouse staff with technology, specifically to raise investment in Internet of Things (72%), barcode scanning technologies (70%), tablet computers (69%), big data/data analytics (67%), and warehouse/truck loading automation (64%) in the next five years.
– Half of the respondents say warehouse investments are mainly driven by the need to reduce transportation costs, while 41% demand shorter delivery times, and 38% see the need to accommodate new supplier and trading partner locations.
Other factors include change to inventory policies (33%), talent/skill shortages (28%), and omni-channel pressures (21%).
– From now till 2020, companies surveyed verbalized expansion plans in terms of total volume of items shipped (74%), automation of processes (69%), annual inventory turns (64%), number of stock keeping units (SKUs) (57%), and employees (56%).
– Currently, 81% of respondents are using legacy warehouse management software (WMS), and this number is projected to drop by half from 81% to 40% in 2020.
By contrast, full-featured WMS and real-time location system (RTLS) will grow its usage by an average of 29% in five years.
– Executives surveyed expect to see growth in percentage of inbound items that will be barcoded in the next five years, from 59% to 78%.
– In inventory management, 86% of respondents said they will use mobile handheld computers and tablets with real-time access to WMS, while 79% of them plan to use RFID-equipped solutions. Only 24% of those polled expect to continue using pen and paper in 2020.
In response to the industry’s need to increase operational visibility to ramp up efficiency and productivity, Zebra is introducing a collection of products designed for warehousing tasks.
The Total Wearable Solutions that consist of wearable devices built on the Android operating system is backed by Zebra Mobility DNA.
They feature hands-free and speech-directed picking that increases user mobility, comfort and accuracy.
Compared with traditional speech-only wearable devices, the new multi-modal solution delivers 15% productivity improvements, with a 39% reduction in errors.
Designed for inventory management, yard management and picking and put-away applications in warehouse, manufacturing and retail environments, Zebra’s Total Wearable Solutions include:
– The WT6000 Industrial Wearable Computer, featuring a touch display and secure tap-to-pair near field communication technology to easily establish connectivity with Zebra’s RS6000 Wearable Ring Scanner and HS3100 Headset, as well as Zebra Bluetooth-enabled printers for increased productivity.
The WT6000 arm band features non-absorbent materials for breathability and improved hygiene when worn on the arm.
– The RS6000 Wearable Ring Scanner, which provides improved picking speed and accuracy with programmable line-of-sight LED colors to direct user activity as well as improved range and motion tolerance, even when the worker or an asset is in motion.
– The wireless HS3100 Headset, enabling speech-driven applications and voice communications along with superior noise cancellation technology.
– The solutions use Mobility DNA, a software ecosystem that gives mobile computers more enterprise capabilities with business and productivity tools customized to workers’ needs.
The Zebra Mobility DNA suite includes TekSpeech Pro 4, which maximizes warehouse productivity with multi-modal speech-directed solutions.
– Hands-free mobility while retaining the ability to withstand extreme temperature ranges and working conditions.
– The WT6000 wearable computer and RS6000 ring scanner share a common Zebra PowerPrecision+ battery – providing full-shift power, innovative battery management tools and simplifying battery management.