Updated: Nov 25, 2022
October 2022 has seen its fair share of horrors. Since the announcement of the Chancellor’s mini-budget and tax cuts, chaos ensued in the form of further economic pressures during this cost of living crisis, from further price increases across the board for essentials including food and fuel to a weakened pound, and mortgages and stamp duty reaching an all-time high. Not to mention the installation of, not one but three, Prime Ministers in the short space of a year.
Wreaking havoc among businesses, October is unfortunately also the month where staffing is still short, autonomous intelligence is rising within facility operations, forecasting remains challenging, and consumer expectations – with a focus on returns and omnichannel fulfilment - are becoming increasing harder to maintain.
This month, the SCN team explores just what frightful occurrences have been cited within the warehouse and logistics landscape and how these are shaping the future of the industry…
Rise of the Robots
Cracking under the weight of Brexit labour shortages, for several years now many businesses have been relying on the support of automating processes for both efficiency, and to reduce the manual strain on the warehouse workforce.
Whilst automation improves warehouse operations overall, they are not a one size fits all solution for businesses across the board. You need to ensure that you review the size of your facility, the operations carried out, and the number of staff available.
When combined with labour shortages within the supply chain industry, integrating autonomous robotics into a facility can of course improve your daily operations. The key is to find the balance and prevent a man versus machine dynamic within the workplace.
Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) is an increasingly popular option with many people now returning to the office and less working from home.
For the warehouse industry, this is a trying time due to unpredictability caused by data skewed by the surging influx of eCommerce, impacted and shaped by the mandatory isolation and quarantine rules instigated by the UK Government.
Not being able to rely on data from pandemic times can mean that at present, trends like omnichannel fulfilment and eCommerce are becoming increasingly harder to predict, and to forecast inventory for, due to our current climate, not being comparable to the previous unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Leaving 2020 behind is not as easy as entering 2023, and it will for now, for many businesses, remain challenging to forecast and plan for the future.
Labour shortages of up to 20% are still being cited in the warehouse industry. According to an independent review from DEFRA on labour shortages in the Food Supply Chain, migrant labour is no longer a sustainable source for the warehouse workforce within the sector.
Simultaneously battling against other significant global pressures, warehouses may wish to invest in Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) which can be used to both train new and retain current employees, as well as improve facility efficiency.
New technology can not only enable warehouses with reduced staffing to maintain productivity and improve accurate order fulfilment but can also ensure that a warehouse appears to be an attractive employer that strives to implement innovative methods within its daily operations.
Running out of time
Using past data to predict future forecasting for warehouse and supply chain operations will remain somewhat unreliable for now. However, one thing that is certain is eCommerce will continue to grow.
Flexibility and adaptability proved to be crucial to survival throughout 2020 onwards, and these virtues will continue to be vital to manage the remainder of 2022’s high order volumes, labour shortages, and expectations of ever-faster shipping, as well as any new expectations that arise in 2023.
Supply chain and warehousing operations, in future, would most likely best benefit from assessing their current inventory and logistics. Whilst Just in Time (JIT) strategies may prove to be cost-effective from an inventory and storage perspective, despite being more costly, Just in Case (JIC) can prove to be more effective. Especially during periods of disruption such as the pandemic, implementing JIC is a better method of managing both production and fulfilling customers' omnichannel delivery expectations both efficiently and affordably. Overall, the best solution is operational flexibility, partnered with dynamic fulfilment processes, guided by innovative technological systems.
Escape the horrors with the Supply Chain Network team
As many changes across all sectors continue to develop, the supply chain industry is also constantly adapting as best it can to much-needed - yet as of recently unprecedented - technology and labour shifts. Experts in all aspects of warehouse and network design, The SCN team understands the importance of remaining competitive in what is a very dynamic industry and the critical data analysis required to achieve this.
Specialists in Warehouse Design and Fit-Out, the SCN team can help you reach your facility’s fulfilment potential in 2022 and beyond. Visit www.scnuk.com to learn about the work that we do and to ensure you are ready, and future-proof your business plans and warehouse design. We work with our clients and ask questions about their supply chain at all levels. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01529 455340
*All images sourced from pexels