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Predicting Warehouse Trends for 2023


Just a few weeks into 2023, the Supply Chain Network team are interested to explore just what trends and patterns are emerging within the new year landscape. Looking back on 2022, in previous years we have been able to predict when to decrease inventory, increase staffing, optimise operations with technology, or streamline facilities with new machinery.


Of course, while this ability for forecasting allows supply chain managers to recognise any potential problems, it also cleverly allows for a review of improvements to be made where needed.


Not forgetting the learning curve to adapting to unprecedented change instigated by the 2019 Coronavirus pandemic, the nature of the supply chain and warehousing industry as ever will be illustrated by extraneous variables that deliver unpredictability. Entering 2023, as always managers must be ever vigilant, familiarise themselves with new innovations and be prepared to adopt what’s new to survive.


According to SCN, these are the top trends making an appearance in 2023…



1. Ageing Workforce and Continued Staff Shortages

As the employment market continues to shift, in 2023 we can expect to see a continued rise in leadership positions being occupied by the millennial population. This has been caused by the latent effects of Covid leaving staff unable to handle the many of hours manual labour as they did before.


Additionally, since Covid-19 millennials are increasingly investing in their self-development and taking full advantage of opportunities to upskill themselves. These higher levels of education have opened new doors for this sector of the population in the workplace. With an aptitude to learn new software and a willingness to embrace new tech and innovations, millennials are fast becoming warehouse decision-makers in record time.


Lastly, it would appear that a combination of both the ongoing labour shortage and the relentless rise of new and innovative facility software and machinery, results in many warehouses favouring automation in a bit to cushion the effects of fluctuating staff, whilst still being required to maintain and oftentimes increase ongoing performance.



2. Going Round in Circles

Reverse logistics is a key component of all supply chain activity. To remain competitive, retailers and DCs, therefore, need to establish sustainable return processes and have proper disposal procedures in place.


Experiencing a boom in eCommerce both during and following the pandemic, for many, the return rate for items purchased online remains significantly higher than those purchased in-store. This shift, due to convenience, and lack of time and has reshaped consumers' reliance on eCommerce and altered their expectations for the returns experience to smoothly match that of shopping. Only those who tackle this challenge will be able to prevent making losses as e-commerce continues to grow.



3. Taking the floor

UK warehouse space was in high demand during the eCommerce boom of recent years and continues to be sacred ground. The economic prospects for the UK both publicly and commercially are challenged by inflation and the cost of living crisis. The balancing act between increasing rent and decreasing space predicts 2023 will experience some of the same challenges as previous years; with new build supply continuing to be outpaced by high demand.


With floor space prices remaining at an all-time high, it makes sense for warehouse managers to begin to invest in technologies that optimally utilise all their currently available space. Whether this be automated storage solutions that exploit inventory storage via full floor-to-ceiling height or building up instead of out to allow facilities to fit more into less and save money.



4. Automation and Tech Integration are King

Experts predict that up to half a million robotic warehouses could be in use by around 2025. As DCs continue to strive for improved facility efficiency, they also estimate that robots will become commonplace and may even eventually replace previous conventional technologies and processes.


Innovation over intimidation is the key to success in 2023. Facility managers need to understand that robots and new software and machines can save money in the long run and are scalable to a variety of DC applications. Furthermore, working collaboratively together- cobots – means that in the future efficiency and optimisation are optimised, in turn maximising your profits.



Plan your most successful year yet with SCN

With 2023 being an open book, and full of opportunities for the year the Supply Chain Network team are here to help you navigate the months ahead within your facility. Whether it be planning your logistics networks, facility design and build, or re-fitting for optimal performance, the SCN team understands the importance of continually adapting to new technological developments in what is a very dynamic industry.


Specialists in Warehouse Design and Fit-Out, the SCN team can help you reach your facility’s fulfilment potential in 2023. Visit www.scnuk.com to learn about the work that we do and to ensure you are ready, future-proof and secure your business plans and warehouse design. We work with our clients and ask questions about their supply chain at all levels.

Contact us here: ian.maughan@scnuk.com or call: 07581 496580

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