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How Technology Can Improve Warehouse Efficiency

Part 3 of a 3 part series of posts inspired by the 31st Annual State of Logistics Report

There’s a lot of data out there showing how improving efficiency can help shippers and logistics companies increase their profit margins and ultimately reach new heights of success. With the right technology, businesses can track shipments as they move through each step of the transportation process.

They can also record information related to the assets used during the journey and the costs accumulated along the way. Once all of this data is collected, companies can then use leading software platforms to develop and analyze key metrics to optimize critical shipping operations.

Unfortunately, given how divided the industry can be, any value provided by the data that’s measured tends to fall short due to outdated, inefficient processes. Because of this disconnect and the potential opportunities it presents, companies invested more than $13 billion into global supply chain and logistics technology startups in 2019, according to the 31st Annual Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ (CSCMP) State of Logistics report.

Many logistics partners realize that now’s the time to update and enhance their existing technology and infrastructure if they want to survive the devastating effects of COVID-19 and keep up with the competition. Whether you’re considering investing in robotics for handling goods, new warehousing management processes, or another form of advanced technology, your main goal should be to lower the amount of physical labor required to maintain your day-to-day operations.

Here are just two of the emerging logistics technology trends that can help shippers improve factors like warehousing efficiency to account for tight labor market limitations, lower their costs, and boost their business.

1. Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR)

When it comes to increasing the accuracy of your order fulfillment processes, you can’t beat the speed or reliability an AMR can offer in comparison to physical labor. It also doesn’t hurt that this technology can clean and disinfect itself, which is a bonus for fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

Warehousing sectors such as healthcare and retail that experienced many chaotic changes at the onset of the pandemic could significantly benefit from investments in automation. Those in other areas that struggled with stay-at-home orders like luxury goods may not be able to afford the initial costs themselves. Don’t worry, though, because there are many third-party logistics partners that you can work with who already have the technology you need.

2. Warehouse Execution Systems (WES)

One way shippers can improve real-time visibility, prevent time-consuming issues like bottlenecks, and directly oversee other order-picking systems (among many other benefits) is to invest in integrating a WES. This technology has the potential to replace traditional warehouse management systems and manage essential warehousing functions as well as other systems or platforms your company may already be using.

As e-commerce rapidly grows, demand is expected to soar right along with it. This projected future only serves to emphasize the need for increased automation within warehousing operations so that the sector can further adapt to today’s logistics environment and continue to thrive.

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