APAC to accelerate warehouse technology investments by 2020

Will equip staff with new technologies to meet the needs of increasing shipment volumes

By Anuradha Shukla
Aug. 12, 2016

Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of decision makers in Asia Pacific have plans to outfit their warehouse staff with technology, according to the latest Warehouse Vision Study.

Specifically they intend to raise investment in Internet of Things (72 percent), barcode scanning technologies (70 percent), tablet computers (69 percent), big data/data analytics (67 percent), and warehouse/truck loading automation (64percent) in the next five years.

Half of the respondents said that warehouse investments are mainly driven by the need to reduce transportation costs.

Forty-one percent demand shorter delivery times, and 38 percent see the need to accommodate new supplier and trading partner locations. Other factors include change to inventory policies (33 percent), talent/skill shortages (28 percent), and omni-channel pressures (21 percent).

"Zebra's Warehouse Vision Report found that 72 percent of nearly 1,400 logistics professionals expect to use voice-directed picking solutions by 2020, up from just 30 percent in 2015," said Joe White, Vice President, Enterprise Mobile Computing, Zebra Technologies. "They recognise the need to help workers focus on the task at hand, rather than on handling a device. By liberating warehouse workers' hands and eyes, Zebra's Total Wearable Solutions will improve productivity and enhance their mobility, comfort and accuracy with all the necessary information in sight."

Expansion plans

The companies have expansion plans in place, in terms of total volume of items shipped (74 percent), automation of processes (69 percent), annual inventory turns (64 percent), number of stock keeping units (SKUs) (57 percent), and employees (56 percent).

Eighty-one percent of respondents are using legacy warehouse management software (WMS), and this number is projected to drop by half to 40 percent in 2020.

Full-featured WMS and real-time location system (RTLS) will grow its usage by an average of 29 percent in five years.

Executives from the companies surveyed expect to see growth in percentage of inbound items that will be barcoded in the next five years, from 59 percent to 78 percent.

"With the surge of e-commerce activities in Asia Pacific in recent years, led by China and India, the region has become the 'warehouse of the world'. IT and operations decision makers in warehouses and distribution centers consistently need to identify new ways to improve productivity and reduce costs to stay competitive," said Ryan Goh, ‎Vice President & General Manager, sales at Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific. "Nearly three quarters of respondents in Zebra's Warehouse Vision Study have plans to outfit their warehouse staff with technology in the next five years."