The need for increased visibility, accuracy and efficiency within warehouse environments is stronger than ever.
The role of today's warehouse is changing; gone are the days where a warehouse is simply a space to store inventory and exchange goods. Warehouse operators are working in fast-paced and often decentralized environments and under time-sensitive schedules, to keep up with consumers' 'need it now' culture and meet their service expectations.
Consumers' expectations are shifting; they expect to be able to place an order with a retailer and receive overnight delivery, or collect the order at their local store the next day. This growing demand for overnight order fulfilment requires faster order picking to meet delivery expectations, resulting in increased pressure for businesses to maintain both accuracy and consumer satisfaction standards.
According to a study by Roy Morgan, Australians spent $41.3 billion on e-commerce last year, and 79% of Australians prefer purchasing goods online (in comparison to traditional in-person shopping). This growth of e-commerce brings increased complexity for warehouse operations, shifting from shipping cases of items to a store, to delivering individual items to consumers' homes. This is estimated to result in a 60% increase in warehouse SKUs by 2020.
Warehouse process complexity is going to amplify with a predicted 74% increase in the volume of items shipped over the next five years, and a 64% inventory turnover annually, resulting in an increased need for inventory visibility, accuracy and efficiency.
To compete in today's hyper-competitive market, accuracy is more critical than ever, as anything less than perfection in order fulfilment can result in a lost customer. As a result, businesses are constantly on the lookout for productivity and accuracy enhancing solutions for their warehouse and distribution centres to achieve competitive differentiation within the market.