Top 3 Warehouse Management Trends For 2021

Many supply chains were shaken, if not completely turned upside down, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenging year of 2020 has placed a spotlight on the key gaps in many companies’ supply chains. As we look toward the top priorities for supply chains in 2021, it seems that every supply chain and transportation organization is looking to build resiliency, inventory, and warehouse management  throughout 2021.

Over the last year, companies have realized the need for better warehouse management to combat struggles with under or overstocking. Additionally, with many businesses reducing their budgets to make up for net losses last year, there’s an increased need for efficient warehouse organization.

What are the 3 main warehouse and inventory trends for 2021?

  1. Robotics

An increasing and growing trend in warehouse and inventory management are robotic devices. According a research firm based out of San Jose, CA, worldwide sales of robots for logistics management are set to surpass $22 billion by 2021. Organizations like Amazon are already ahead of the curve, using collaborative robots alongside their human workforce to increase operational efficiency, leading to increased savings. While it seems like this is only something retail giants like Amazon can afford to do, the Deloitte 2019 Annual Industry Report states that over 30% of supply chain professionals are actively using robotics and automation for their warehouses, inventory, and fulfillment management.

  1. Automation

Automation seems to have found itself on this list for the last few years, and certainly won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Maintaining a warehouse facility is costly, and the key is to make the most of the available space. On top of that, warehouses are mainly supported by facility workers for labor, which can include lots of paperwork, human errors and costly overhead. Using technology like a robust WMS (warehouse management system) software can support cost reduction, eliminate manual operational issues, and help increase warehouse functionality. Using algorithms, the WMS seeks to improve product arrival times, simplify delivery processes, and automate many other processes internally.

Complex supply chains involve working with multiple warehouse locations, and machine learning can help streamline operations between all these remote locations, keeping all your facilities connected and integrated for operational success.

  1. Sustainability

Sustainability has been an industry buzzword in recent years, and it remains a top trend throughout the industry in 2021. In terms of warehouse management, sustainable practices can involve using renewable energy sources, like solar batteries. Reportedly, energy expenses on average account for 15% of general warehouse maintenance costs, so implementing a sustainable approach can be a cost-saving strategic shift, as well as environmentally beneficial.

Written by:
Tim Griffin
Director of Marketing & Media, C.L Services, Inc.

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