Most warehouse bosses eye partial automation, augmentation by 2024

Photo by Sikai Gu
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Warehouse decision makers are focusing on both automation and worker augmentation solutions over the next five years, to keep up with the growth of the on-demand economy, according to the latest study by Zebra Technologies.

The 2024 Warehousing Vision Study included 1,403 IT and operational decision makers — 352 were from Asia Pacific — in the manufacturing, transportation & logistics, retail, post and parcel delivery and wholesale distribution markets who were interviewed by Qualtrics.

The study found that four in every five (81%) of respondents agree that augmenting workers with technology is the best way to introduce automation in the warehouse, but only 34% have a clear understanding of where to start automating.

Currently, up to 88% of decision makers are either in the process of or are planning to expand the size of their warehouses by 2024. Meanwhile, up to 85% anticipate an increase in the number of warehouses during this timeframe.

Aik Jin, Tan, APAC Vertical Solutions Lead, Manufacturing and Transportation & Logistics at Zebra Technologies, said that by 2024, warehouse leaders will be shifting their focus to the integration of more holistic solutions to build data-powered environments that balance labor and automation in the warehouse.

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“The on-demand economy has fuelled that ‘want-it-now’ mentality of consumers today, who are on the hunt for products almost 24/7. These demands have disrupted the supply chain, impacting manufacturers, retailers and the warehousing operations that serve their need,” said Fang-How Lim, regional director for Southeast Asia at Zebra Technologies.

“Our study further revealed that 49% of the surveyed business leaders reported an increase in consumer demand as a top driver for growth, with almost 40% of respondents stating that shorter order lead times are fuelling their expansion plans and causing them to reanalyse their strategies,” Lim said.

In Asia-Pacific, by 2024, 87% of respondents plan to implement a mobile execution system to better manage workers on the warehouse floor.

Also in this region, 73% of decision makers plan to invest in smart watches, smart glasses and hip-mounted wearables in the next three years.

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