It’s safe to say that all workplaces are changing as we move forward in the age of ever-evolving technology. Efficiency is the name of the game today, as warehousing and fulfilment centres in India such as StoreFresh are taking the constant pressure to do more with less. This is particularly true in the warehousing industry, which is an important part of the supply chain.
Fortunately, the technologies available to each StoreFresh e-commerce warehouse in India is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Warehouses will rely on proven process-driven technologies like supply chain automation, high-performance robotics, and, yes, plenty of drones.
Every StoreFreshe e-commerce warehouse in East India faces a variety of difficulties. As more people shop online, retailers’ footprints are shrinking. To compensate for the shift from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce, warehouses will have to shoulder a greater storage burden. This translates to a higher staffing requirement, which is exacerbated by tight labour markets.
StoreFresh warehouses can experience 3-5x volume spikes during peak periods. Traditional hardware and software solutions are only available to the largest companies, so most warehouses are manual.
Slow processes, inefficient workflows, and a high risk of human error symptoms are all factors associated with a manual warehouse. This creates a demand among many businesses for scalable solutions that don’t require a large capital outlay and, ideally, integrate with a warehouse’s existing infrastructure and layout.
Consumer behaviour continues to shift in response to modern retailers’ latest technologies and capabilities. Other retailers are forced to follow suit or risk being left behind as major players like Flipkart and Amazon cater to the demand for fast shipping. A built-to-suit or BTS warehouse in India such as StoreFresh is ultimately responsible for meeting these demands.
It appears to be an impossible task, requiring the ability to ship larger items individually rather than by truckload, and in two days rather than weeks, all at the same or lower prices. Consumers are putting their money where their mouths are, whether it’s an impossible feat or not:
After receiving free or fast shipping, 77% of customers say they are more likely to do business with the same retailer again.
Consumers have chosen one e-commerce vendor over another based on delivery options, according to 66% of respondents.
Fast shipping is defined by 54 per cent of consumers as two days or less, and 64 per cent of consumers are unwilling to pay more for two-day shipping.
As retailers struggle to meet these demands to attract and retain customers, they turn to warehouse and distribution partners who can help them. That’s what’s driving the trends and technologies that will shape the future warehouse. We’ll go over the current shifts and up-and-coming innovations transforming the warehouse in the sections below.
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Adopting the latest technologies for today’s warehouses is not as simple as it may appear. Existing facilities typically have legacy designs and layouts, so new automation must be flexible and minimally disruptive without causing significant capital expenditure increases.
Finally, to attract new labour, warehouses will look for ways to increase productivity, automation tools that are simple to use and train workers on, and changing the nature of the work.
Although warehouses have played an important role in the supply chain for decades, they are unlikely to become obsolete. Instead, the industry’s future looks bright as forward-thinking companies embrace the latest technological advancements to pave the way for the future warehouse.
StoreFresh experts believe that investing in automation is the most effective option for a dynamically growing logistic company in India such as itself. Although automation has existed in some form or another for decades (if not centuries!), forward-thinking companies are focusing on incorporating autonomous elements into their existing infrastructure and systems to transform the fulfilment process without requiring a complete infrastructure overhaul.
Companies integrating more inflexible robotic alternatives were often forced to start from scratch and redesign their warehouse before the appearance of tools like Chuck. Because of the extensive infrastructure upgrades and the months, it took for those systems to be fully operational, achieving ROI was a long-term goal, not a short-term one.
Another warehouse automation trend is augmented reality (AR), which can improve picking efficiency and reduce on-the-job training requirements. Virtual reality (VR), AR’s cousin, is also making waves in improving the delivery process’s safety and efficiency. Through facial recognition technology and other advancements, VR can also improve secure delivery and identity verification.
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Drones are likely to play a role in the future warehouse as well. In August 2017, MIT researchers announced that they had been programming drones to relay RFID to aid in inventory control — an advancement that could eventually make tagging obsolete. Thanks to this technology, small drones can fly above a warehouse floor and read RFID tags from tens of metres away with a 19-centimetre margin of error. The idea is that the drones will read existing RFID tags, saving the warehouse money on new tags, readers, and reader software.
At the moment, a few factors are preventing drones from becoming a part of any company’s warehouse team, the most important of which is safety. Only a specific type of lightweight aerial drone can be used in warehouses under current regulations, but these drones may lack the capabilities needed to read RFID tags from a distance accurately.
According to industry experts, many warehouses will be able to track their inventory using drones within the next few years. This will enable warehouses of all sizes to conduct comprehensive inventory counts and audits at a moment’s notice.
Some StoreFresh warehouses are already utilising advanced sortation systems and adopting these technologies will continue to grow among the world’s largest retailers. Advanced sortation systems have a very high cost per user, which means that only the world’s largest companies can afford to invest in them. Sorters and shuttles are used for various applications, including direct-to-consumer order fulfilment, retail, and even return processing.
As a result, every Built-to-suit/ BTS warehouse in east India run by StoreFresh is becoming a preferred option for clients. The major functioning locations presently for the company presently are West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, and Assam. With the pace of growth, StoreFresh will soon be able to expand its services.