Zebra Technologies Corporation has announced the results of its 2024 Warehousing Vision Study, analysing IT and operations decision makers’ current and planned strategies for modernizing their warehouses, distribution centres and fulfilment centres.
The study reports on the forward-thinking fulfilment strategies companies are focusing on to keep up with the growth of the on-demand economy. Both automation and worker augmentation solutions will be a key focus for decision makers’ plans during the next five years. More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents agree that augmenting workers with technology is the best way to introduce automation in the warehouse, but only 35 per cent have a clear understanding of where to start automating. Eighty-seven per cent of decision-makers are currently in the process of or planning to expand the size of their warehouses by 2024, with 82 per cent anticipating an increase in the number of warehouses during this timeframe.
Mark Wheeler, Director of Supply Chain Solutions, Zebra Technologies said, “IT and operations decision-makers are prepared to meet this heightened demand over the next five years by taking an incremental approach to modernising their warehouse operations, in which they will first work to improve individual and team productivity while achieving workflow conformity. By 2024, leaders will shift their focus to the integration of more holistic solutions to build data-powered environments that balance labour and automation in the warehouse, ultimately empowering front-line workers with a performance edge to lead the way.”
By 2024, automation will enhance worker performance rather than replace workers.
- 61% decision makers plan to enable partial automation or labour augmentation with technology in the warehouse.
- Three-quarters of respondents believe human interaction is part of their optimal operational balance, with 39 per cent citing partial automation (some human involvement) and 34 per cent citing augmentation (equipping workers with devices) as their preference.
- Decision makers anticipate using robotics/bots for inbound inventory management (24%), outbound packing (22%) and goods in/receiving (20%) by 2024.