Warehousing and storage play a vital role within the supply chain, and as consumer demands increase more intensely, operations need to run more efficiently. With this in mind we are looking at the current trends in 2023 in warehousing.
The leading priority for most businesses is revising their environmental agendas and taking a more sustainable approach to operations. There is a spotlight on reducing carbon footprint and reducing environmental impact. This is particularly true for popular brands and businesses who could face intense scrutiny if they aren’t taking the right steps.
One way that businesses can improve in this area is by partnering with companies which promote environmentally friendly practices in business. There are also day to day operational processes which can be changed such as using electric vehicles, reducing packaging, automation of packing systems and ensuring packaging is eco-friendly with less plastic.
Customer expectations are rising, there is intense competition within markets to beat competitors on price, speed and availability. To stay ahead of this, companies are turning to automated processes in order to increase efficiency.
Automated systems can be used across picking, inventory management and restocking. Warehouse management software (WMS) is supported by numerous automation such as automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), packing systems and sensors for Internet of Things (IoT).
Warehouses today are equipped with intelligent means to collect data from these processes. Intelligent software and automation helps to keep the supply chain working efficiently and connected from manufacturer right through to the end customer.
Leading on from the above, the use of data in warehousing has moved on considerably, and is helping businesses to optimise operations. With all the automated processes communicating useful data, it is important to harness this and put it to good use.
Using data from Iot and other automated processes will help warehouses predict increases in demand. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will help to dictate when an increase of staff is needed, when to promote sale items, as well as notifying of restocks that might ordinarily be missed.
Data helps to collect information about user behaviour and surges in demand based on previous collected data. These methods can help to identify best selling products, seasonal surges or even predicted sales based on geographical location. This information helps with a multitude of preparations in the warehouse, including layout of products.
A simple way to improve efficiencies within warehousing is to ensure the layout of inventory is in line with product demand. Storing popular products in easily accessible locations, closer to despatch, means they will be quickly accessible for packing.
Overall warehouses are looking to be smarter whether that is through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or increasing connectivity and creating warehouse ‘clusters’. This approach to warehousing allows businesses to reach a wide range of customers and maintain fast shipments by operating from multiple locations.
These warehousing trends focus on the number one priority – increasing efficiency. As systems such as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence become commonplace in warehouses; it is hoped that data and information will also help to inform decisions on sustainable practices.
At Regional Express, our warehouse is designed to BREEAM Excellent Sustainability Standards and is primarily powered by renewable energy via a £2.5 million roof mounted solar panel installation, believed to be one of the largest in the UK. With this warehousing we are able to offer bonded and buffer storage for Amazon sellers, enabling them to send larger quantities in one shipment to the UK reducing the overall unit cost. Smaller shipments, in line with the unit limits set by Amazon, can then be sent to Amazon warehouses in the UK and the remaining stock held at the new warehouse for stock replenishment as required.
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