Trade Resources Industry Views Investment in Technology Set to Increase

Investment in Technology Set to Increase

Investment in Technology Set to Increase

Zebra Technologies Corporation has announced its Warehouse Vision Study findings, which has found that almost three quarters (74%) of APAC decision makers in the industry will accelerate warehouse technology investments by 2020.

The global survey compares input from over 1,000 IT and operations warehouse professionals from retail, manufacturing, logistics, transportation, and wholesale distribution sectors across countries – including Australia/New Zealand (ANZ) – on expectations for 2015 through to 2020.

The study shows that enterprises in the region are expected to increase the number of warehouses as global online sales continue to grow. Surveyed warehouse executives say they plan on equipping staff with new technologies to meet the needs of increasing shipment volumes.

Senior technical director, Asia Pacific, at Zebra Technologies Wayne Harper believes the implementation of technology into warehousing will see measurable results for businesses and improved working conditions for staff.

“Technology-enhanced warehouses allow businesses to monitor everyday operations in a way that can be measured and analysed,” Mr Harper said. “This visibility gives quality insights that mould an informed strategy, ensuring only the best outcomes are achieved. As found in the study, technology will drive the future of warehousing.

“Based on the research, there will be a major shift in this space, with 74% of respondents planning to outfit their warehouse staff with technology, and only 24% said they expect to continue using pen and paper in 2020.

“Locally, we have seen an increase in interest and subsequent application of handheld and RFID devices to be integrated into warehouses across varying industries. Particularly with retail, to cope with the evolving supply chain pressures driven by consumer demand, organisations need to adopt an approach that will see costs reduced and parcels delivered on time.

“It will be interesting to see how this evolves as we approach the busiest time of year for retail,” Mr Harper said.

Key facts

  • 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 expressed expansion plans in terms of total volume of items shipped (74%), automation of processes (69%), annual inventory turns (64%), number of stock keeping units (SKU) (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 84%.
  • 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.

Vice president & general manager, sales, at Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific Ryan Goh said: “With the surge of e-commerce activities in Asia Pacific in recent years, led by China and India, the region has become the ‘warehouse of the world’.

“IT and operations decision makers in warehouses and distribution centres consistently need to identify new ways to improve productivity and reduce costs to stay competitive. Nearly three quarters of respondents in Zebra’s Warehouse Vision Study have plans to outfit their warehouse staff with technology in the next five years. Zebra provides the exact technologies, products, and solutions that offer increased operational visibility to address the challenges faced by our customers. This allows them to become more nimble and agile.”

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