The rise in online shopping coupled with our expectation for faster, and more secure, delivery of items put increasing pressure on the warehouse industry. To meet those demands, the warehousing industry has been developing new technologies and working to adapt to the current and future workforce. Let’s take a closer look at three of the warehouse trends shaping the industry: wireless and voice enablement technologies as well as a new workforce.
The warehouse is moving to a mobile-first, cloud-first, wirelessly driven industry, and for good reason. There is a multitude of benefits of a warehouse going this direction; including improving supply chain operations, to improving asset-tracking capabilities and reducing order fulfillment periods. Wireless technology can provide increased accuracy, access to real-time information, and productivity gains.
However, before your warehouse jumps into the world of wireless there are some things you should take into consideration. According to Lanham Associates, the key factors to consider before going mobile include understanding your ERP and WMS software capabilities, ensuring the wireless devices you work with are compatible with your ERP and WMS, and finally, know your warehouses’ wireless infrastructure limitations.
Voice enablement takes the wireless trend that much further. Voice or speaker recognition is the ability of a machine or program to receive and interpret dictation or to understand and carry out spoken commands. In the warehouse, voice-enabling technology has helped increase productivity, accuracy, safety, and employee satisfaction, while simultaneously reducing training time for staff.
HighJump wrote an article that describes the various ways in which voice enabled warehouse makes a much more efficient warehouse.
Voice enablement empowers employees to learn easier and get up to speed quicker. HighJump’s blog on keeping a happy workforce using voice-enabling technology explains this phenomenon in more detail.
As always, it is important to pick any new technology carefully, and voice enablement is no different. While many companies have had great success with this technology it is important to ask yourself if this is a good fit for your operation and how would voice work in your warehouse. Logistics Management has a nice guide to help you walk through the decisions of should you and what should you do when it comes to voice enablement technology for your warehouse.
The workforce is changing: Baby Boomers are retiring and Millennials have joined the ranks. To keep your warehouse and company viable, you need to attract and retain a younger workforce. One way to do that is through new technologies such as wireless warehouses and voice enablement. Millennials like and expect new technologies in the workplace. By incorporating these in your operations, you will be enticing the younger generation to your company and ensuring you have a workforce for now, and in the future. In addition to the technology, Millennials tend to respond to different management styles within the warehouse. Learn how to work successfully with millennials in the warehouse. The biggest take away is, “Focusing on engaging the millennial workforce is in the best interest of warehouse managers. Failing to adapt to the needs of this generation could mean decades of employee churn ahead and millions lost on unnecessary hiring and training costs.”
The warehouse industry is an industry on the move: moving to incorporating new technologies to make their operations faster, more efficient, and more productive. Its workforce is also moving: shifting to a younger generation with different needs and expectations.
For more information on how a warehouse management system can work with your ERP to make your warehouse more productive please visit our website and for more on warehouse management, supply chain, and new technologies be sure to subscribe to our blog as we cover these topics often.