Warehouse workplaces improve amid labor shortage 

Warehouse operators are making significant investments to better fulfill the needs of both customers and workers and make it easier to fill open jobs, turning their focus towards technologies that support workforce augmentation and workflow automation, according to Zebra Technologies.

Zebra’s Warehousing Vision Study revealed that nine in every 10 operators in all regions, including Asia-Pacific, indicate they will increase the use of wearables, mobile printers and rugged tablets over the next few years, along with mobile dimensioning software that automates parcel and carton measurements.

Conducted in January and February 2022, the study covered  more than 1,500 warehouse decision-makers and associates around the world. In Asia-Pacific, the markets surveyed for the study are Australia, China, India, Japan and Singapore. 

Findings show warehouse operators are expected to deliver orders faster than ever to keep up with the on-demand economy, with rising transportation costs taking their toll on over 40% of operators spanning manufacturing, transportation, wholesale distribution, logistics and retail.

Finding and training workers in a timely manner remain big challenges, especially in APAC, where 53% of warehouse operators report difficulty finding workers and 59% indicate training is challenging. 

As a result, over four in every five decision-makers around the world agree they will have to rely more on automation in the future.

In APAC, 95% of decision-makers indicated their willingness to invest in software that helps automate analytics and decision-making, in a bid to raise worker effectiveness and efficiency and reduce labor costs.

Nearly four in every five warehouse associates in APAC (79%) and globally (78%) say walking fewer miles per day would make their jobs more enjoyable, even if they had to pick or handle more items, and many strongly believe AMRs could make warehouse jobs less stressful.

However, only 36% of those surveyed in APAC and 41% worldwide completely agree implementing warehouse technologies such as robotics and devices can help attract and retain workers.

More than three in every five decision-makers say they will invest in technologies that increase inventory and asset visibility within their warehouses and overall visibility throughout supply chains over the next five years.

Also, nine in every 10 expect their use of sensor-based technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID), computer vision, fixed industrial scanning, and machine vision systems to become more prevalent over the next five years.

“Automation is allowing businesses to create different types of work environments and allowing people to take on roles that are more interesting, fulfilling and career elevating,” said Christanto Suryadarma, Southeast Asia sales VP at Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific. “As a result, 56% of APAC decision-makers believe that the most important labor initiative is to reduce unnecessary tasks so associates can focus on more customer-centric work and utilize their workforce more efficiently.”