Warehouse Management System
When the state of the pandemic had been declared by WHO earlier in 2020, the global scenario turned upside down. With more and more countries closing their borders and limiting transportation, the warehousing industry witnessed unprecedented turmoil in the form of transportation delays, lockdowns, missing or delayed supplies, and a lot more. With warehouses forming a vital component of the logistics industry, some businesses were left with excess inventory due to the lack of demand while the ones in excessive demand waited to receive the inventory at their depleted warehouse. Hence there had been a shift which was more on the upward side for some industries while for some industries it was simply a downward trend.
As the global scenario has slowly started to turn around by getting steadier and even though COVID, on the positive side, forced the Indian warehousing and logistics industry to focus on business continuity with industrial and warehousing space absorption estimated to grow 83% y-o-y to 47.7 m sq ft in 2021, there’s still a larger change that has come over. In other words, this will compel the warehousing and distribution to be rethought in terms of long term goals.
Listed below are the five ways in which COVID can modify the warehousing and distribution landscape forever:
1. Having more inventory in stock
COVID has taught the concept of unreliability better than ever and abandoning the earlier practice of receiving goods just in time for manufacturing for a lower cost and more efficient utilization of storage space, most of the businesses are highly likely to resort to a different path to avoid inventory shortages and stopped production. In other words, manufacturers are likely to keep more inventory as buffer stock. This will lead to utilizing more warehousing space and escalate capacity issues.
2. Redefining the digital landscape with automation
Social distancing being the be-all and end-all of the post covid era, warehouse automation is likely to gain steady traction in the years to come. Right from inventory management, order management to fulfillment, the use of the latest technologies will emphasize the need for the warehouses to automate storage and improve team efficiency. Again, this can maximize up to 85% of existing floor space when compared to the standard shelving systems.
3. Scalable solutions to manage unpredictable demand
With the fluctuation in market demands, warehouses will now turn to scalable solutions to manage inventory. Using both the material handling technologies and software, warehouses will resort to deploying flexible order picking ideas to meet the order demand. This will be aided by adjusting the labor requirements or bringing about the changes in the automation process itself.
4. Increased Dependence on 3PL a Distribution Management Company
As the decentralization of warehousing locations becomes common to meet the rising consumer demands, businesses will focus on seeking help from 3PL companies to leverage the process of distribution. With 3PL partnerships, they will hope to create a better future warehouse and focus on more vital areas while the 3PLs control the distribution center fulfillment.
5. A Boom in eCommerce
With the change in consumer behavior of restoring mostly online to buy products due to the social distancing and shutdown mandates, it has been deemed by Forbes that COVID led to a boom in eCommerce growth with about 77% of total online spending in May of 2020. Even if COVID subsides, the eCommerce boom isn’t going anywhere as has been reported by 62% of the shoppers that they shop more online now than they did before the pandemic.
As uncertainty looms large, the post covid warehousing and distribution will have to work on backup plans to improvise and when the uncertainty sets in they will need to implement scalable solutions, resort to a sizable amount of automation and be flexible in their processes.
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