What will the logistics warehouse of the future look like? Some trends are already taking shape – such as automation, robotisation, IoT and AI – but it is difficult to imagine that all warehouses will look alike in the future. Here, we take a closer look at an article written by Jean-Yves Costa from Hardis Group.
Jean-Yves Costa, Deputy Manager of Logistics Solutions at Hardis Group, discusses one of the key challenges facing the logistics industry: the warehouse of the future. He outlines the numerous possibilities and some key considerations that are easy to overlook, such as types of logistics flows and customer expectations.
“A luxury brand will continue to manage its warehouse differently from an e-commerce giant,” says Costa in the article. “Likewise, a local agri-food business will not set up the same logistics processes as a global industrial supplier.”
Automation vs. cobotics
Automation can help logistics firms achieve economies of scale and maintain a thriving business in the face of stiff competition. Given the level of investment required, however, businesses do not embark down this path unless the benefit-cost ratio (quality of service, productivity and competitiveness gains, change agility) can fully justify it. The development of cobotics (or collaborative robotics) seems to be a more sustainable path. Under this model, robots and operators work together, with low-value-added tasks entrusted to robots.
Attracting new talent
Talent is in short supply in the logistics sector, which doesn’t always enjoy the image it deserves. Costa outlines some of the reasons why the industry should be a more appealing prospect:
- Many operations in the warehouse still require human intervention.
- While western businesses are automating their processes to remain competitive, the emphasis is very much on affordable labour in emerging markets.
- Digital solutions and cutting-edge technologies are likely to attract younger generations.
Smart data and responsible consumption
Warehouses will be increasingly connected with their ecosystem. That much is a given. Bringing strategic data to life is a way to optimize logistics processes, cut operating costs, and reduce the supply chain’s carbon footprint. Warehouses of the future will not be moulded on a single, one-size-fits-all model. Because the sector will continue to serve its primary purpose: supporting commerce.
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