Planning for the Warehouse of the Future

This paper reviews the major social and technology trends that will shape the warehouse of the future, analyzes their impact and presents a vision for how the industry can provide the speed and agility to support the expected demands of the market in 2030 through the development of hyper-local, urban distribution centers.

The pace of change has never been as fast as it is today, and those changes will ultimately influence the warehouse of the future.

From demographic shifts to increasing urbanization, and from drones to 3D printing, social and technological changes will put pressure on supply chain managers to move goods closer to consumers and develop warehouses with the flexibility and speed to support local, faster delivery through multiple channels.

Supply chain managers are already dealing with a myriad of technology and market changes as they implement modular, automated solutions to increase productivity and throughput in their warehouses.

However, the changes occurring in society, with more disposable income and higher consumer expectations, may stretch existing distribution networks beyond their ability to adapt.

The solutions emerging today in terms of AGVs, automated picking and intelligent, modular software provide the speed and flexibility to support these core capabilities and will continue to evolve to meet the demands of the future.

This paper presents a vision for the future of the warehouse that assumes the need to move products closer to consumers, support individualized production and provide same-day delivery through multiple channels.

Topics covered:

  • Trends in Society
  • Trends in Logistics
  • Emerging Technology
  • The Impact on Distribution
  • The Urban Distribution Center of 2030
  • Scale, Flexibility and the Need for Automation

This Swisslog Future Perspectives paper was created by a cross-functional team of automation and robotics experts from across Swisslog Logistics Automation and its parent KUKA.

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