Like many other industries, warehousing is being completely transformed by advances in technology and new workplace trends. And where warehousing goes, related spaces like retail, supply chain management, and transportation will follow. The capabilities of warehouses to store, organize, track, pick and pack, and ship out inventory determine how efficient and effective the world’s biggest businesses can be.
If your business relies on warehouse management, you’ll want to keep your eye on these new and emerging trends.
From wearable barcode scanners (on fingers, wrists, and perhaps eventually glasses) to devices that track movement over the course of a shift, companies are increasingly investing in technology that delivers them as much information as possible. Say for instance, your warehouse employees wear Fitbits and other devices, managers can see how efficiently their employees move around the warehouse, when they may need to take breaks, what routes they could take to arrive at a shelf faster, and how their automated vehicles and equipment can join the stream of movement without disruption.
Millennials are uniquely poised to launch warehouses into the next generation of technology advances and efficiency. Additionally, Millennials will bring a sense of environmental and social consciousness to warehousing – like the use of greener materials and more transparent supply chain management – as well as a comfort with being “always on” that warehouses may require.
Another area where Millennials and their like-minded generational counterparts may shine is in their adoption of blockchain into warehousing operations. Blockchain can potentially affect warehousing in a number of ways. Smaller companies are using smart contracts and processing payments in a clear and public way to avoid disputes while larger companies with efficient warehouses are able to more efficiently integrate blockchain practices and technologies that promote transparency, scalability, better real-time access, and lower costs per transaction.
When we think of a warehouse, we probably all see something remarkably similar. It likely looks like a big square building with lots of shelves inside—would you agree? But the warehouse itself is set to undergo some massive aesthetic, logistical, and even geographic changes. For one thing, warehouses are going up in masse around the country and world. New trends in warehousing are emerging as quickly as new trends in technology and workplace efficiency are. Expect to see the advent of these trends accelerate with new discoveries and bold new directions in business.