Warehouse|DC News

Envisioning & Planning the Future Warehouse of 2030

The warehouse of the future will be shaped by trends in society, technology, and consumer behavior, this post, along with the Future Perspectives paper, Planning for the Warehouse of the Future, shows you what it could look like.

Remember what your warehouse was like 12 years ago when e-commerce was still in its infancy and most of us were unfamiliar with the term omnichannel?

It isn’t easy. With the constant influx of information in today’s digital world, it can be hard to remember what we had for lunch yesterday; let alone what was happening in warehouses 12 years ago.

Needless to say, a lot has changed since then.

Now imagine trying to predict what your warehouse will look like 12 years in the future, especially considering that the pace of change continues to accelerate. That may be even more difficult.

Yet, having a vision of where things are going in the future can help you make better decisions in the present.

And, as it turns out, what’s happening in the present, if we analyze it closely enough, can provide powerful clues as to what is coming - even as far as 12 years into the future.

Over the past three months, a team of Swisslog and KUKA specialists did exactly that.

We took a systematic approach to analyzing societal and technology trends that are emerging today and projected their influence on the warehouse of 2030.

In terms of trends, here is a sample of what we reviewed:

  • Globally, the population is becoming more urban and incomes are rising. In developed countries, the population is aging and the workforce is shrinking while those trends are reversed in developing countries where birth rates are higher.
  • There are significant technological developments emerging today that will, in all probability, shape the warehouse of the future. Those include predictive analytics and machine learning, autonomous vehicles and drones, robotics, and 3D printing.
  • The changes in consumer behavior we see today can also be extrapolated into the future. These include the growth in omnichannel retail in which consumers move seamlessly across channels and choose what to purchase and how based on their specific circumstances at the time of purchase. They will also continue to demand greater personalization and customization. And, they will have even less tolerance for delivery delays. When they purchase something, regardless of channel, they will expect to receive it the same day.

So, what does this mean for the warehouse of the future? Here are some of the key takeaways from our analysis:

  • The warehouse must move closer to the customers it serves. We envision a growth in urban distribution centers that stage products close to users within large cities to enable faster delivery and a more seamless omnichannel experience. The obvious challenge to this scenario will be the space limitations and relatively high real estate costs inherent in urban markets. This will dictate compact and efficient warehouses with limited inventories that are optimized using predictive analytics and supplemented with 3D printing.
  • The space constraints imposed by urban environments will likely also impose a shared service model in which multiple sellers share space in the same facility with products from these sellers consolidated for delivery similar to how parcel shippers consolidate packages today.
  • The urban warehouse must be equipped to produce products as well as store and ship them. With greater customization on the horizon and the continuing maturation of 3D printing technology, the urban distribution center will be well positioned to “print” products on demand and then package and deliver them just as they do products from inventory.
  • The urban distribution center must be configured to support same-day delivery or customer pickup through some combination of autonomous vehicles, robotic picking and loading, drones and mobile pickup points.
  • Technology will play a significant role in delivering the speed and efficiency required and automating the movement of products from large regional warehouses to the urban distribution centers while enabling faster picking, loading, and delivery of these products.

Sound interesting? I encourage you to read our paper, Planning for the Warehouse of the Future. It provides a more thorough review of trends shaping the future of distribution and a more detailed picture of what the urban distribution center of 2030 will look like and how it will operate.

About the Author
Michiel Veenman | As the head of Swisslog’s Competence Center, Warehouse & Distribution Solutions, Michiel is responsible for the development of some of Swisslog’s next-generation solutions. Michiel has over 20 years of experience in intralogistics with roles varying from consulting, design and project management to market strategy and innovation.

Planning For the Warehouse of the Future

Conceptual view of distribution in the future, showing a large warehouse outside a city supporting multiple urban distribution centers with a variety of transportation options from the central warehouse to the urban DC and from the urban DCs to consumers.

Planning For the Warehouse of the Future

Download the Paper: Planning for the Warehouse of the Future


Article Topics
Trends   Warehouse|DC   Warehouse Management   Artificial Intelligence   Automation   Distribution Center   Warehouse Management Systems   All topics


Comments
Be the first to post a comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Login.

 
Latest Warehouse|DC News
Rethinking Your Distribution Network Optimization
Distribution network optimization is essentially a balancing act between operating expenses and working capital, as opposed to service level requirements, and if a cost-benefit analysis sounds expensive…

Lift Truck Technology Connects Pickers to Productivity
Mobile, connected and critical to the movement of goods, the modern lift truck and picker are helping unlock the next level of productivity.

Envisioning & Planning the Future Warehouse of 2030
The warehouse of the future will be shaped by trends in society, technology, and consumer behavior, this post, along with the Future Perspectives paper, Planning for the Warehouse of the Future, shows…

How Wireless Workstations Can Transform Warehouse Fulfillment
Wireless workstations increase productivity and efficiency in warehouse operations.


 

24|7 Pro Team

The 24|7 Team is your direct pipeline to solutions for your business challenges. It's your opportunity to have supply chain and logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information.

The 24|7 Team will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

1
  Choose a topic for your RFP

Transportation RFP/RFI

The Transportation RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your transportation challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific transportation challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect software or system can be an indomitable challenge. Using this transportation/TMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

Warehouse/DC Management RFP/RFI

The Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your WMS challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific WMS challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect WMS solution can be an indomitable challenge. Using this WMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your WMS Request for Proposal list.

Supply Chain RFP/RFI

The Supply Chain RFP is your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and receive free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information. It simplifies finding a pool of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list. The companies in the Logistics Planner have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up, and your request is totally confidential.

Software/Technology RFP/RFI

The Software/Technology is your direct pipeline to solutions for your logistics information technology challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific technology challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request. Whether it's WMS, TMS, Mobile or Cloud, our pros can help.

The companies listed below have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up. Your request is totally confidential.

Executive Education RFI

The Logistics and Supply Chain Education RFI can help you identify the schools, coursework, continuing education, distance learning and certification opportunities available from leading logistics educational institutions.

Upgrade and improve your logistics and supply chain skillsets. Whatever route you choose—advanced degree, executive education, certification or distance learning—the time and money you invest in your education today can pay off in continued career success tomorrow. Contact leading universities and professional institutions for the information you need to prepare for the future.

Third Party Logistics RFP/RFI

This 3PL Request for Proposal (RFP)/Request for Information (RFI) can help you find the 3PL and 4PL providers that can meet your specific 3PL service challenges and needs. The 3PL companies below will provide free, no-obligation third-party logistics advice, solutions, and information.

Ask your 3PL questions, you'll get answers. Simply complete the information, and detail your 3PL challenges. Then, check off the third-party logistics companies that you want to review your request.

1. Choose an RFI topic.
2. Enter your contact information and challenge.
3. Select companies and optional categories.
4. Submit.


2

Your Information



Your Challenge, Problem or Request *

3

Select Transportation Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • One Network
  • Pitt Ohio
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SEKO Logistics
  • SMC3


Select Relevent Categories

  • Air Freight
  • Intermodal
  • Motor Freight
  • Ocean Freight
  • Rail Freight
  • TMS

Select Warehouse/DC Management Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Kuebix
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Swisslog
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Auto ID & Data Capture
  • Automation
  • Conveyors & Sortation
  • Lift Trucks
  • Packaging & Labeling
  • Pallets & Containers
  • Shelving & Racking
  • WMS

Select Supply Chain Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • 3PL Central
  • Amber Road
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • APICS
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Global Trade
  • Inventory Management
  • Risk Management
  • Sustainability

Select Software/Technology Companies

  • Select All

  • 3GTMS
  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • BluJay Solutions
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Swisslog Logistics
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • ERP
  • Sales & Operations
  • Sourcing/Procurement
  • Optimization
  • Transportation Mgmt
  • Warehouse Mgmt

Select Executive Education Choices

  • Select All

  • Graduate Courses
  • Online/Distance
  • Executive Education
  • Certifications
  • Undergraduate
  • Seminars
  • Associations
  • Conferences
  • Tradeshows


Select Third Party Logistics Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Purolator
  • SEKO Logistics
  • Westfalia Technologies


4
 

24|7 Company Profiles