Consumers are ordering more goods online than ever before, and they expect to receive their goods in record time. However, labor shortages and staffing challenges are pervasive – a combination that can put immense pressure on warehouse management and company leadership.
While automation could alleviate much of this bottleneck, automation technology still remains cost-prohibitive for many distributors.
So what’s the answer?
In order to deliver efficiency gains and reduce the time it takes to onboard new or temporary staff, many warehouses are investing in digital tools such as Augmented Reality (AR), voice-directed solutions, and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS).
In fact, according to our new technology analysis report, Devices and Solutions for Workforce Productivity in Warehouse Logistics, by 2025:
- Global spend on AR technology will reach $23 billion
- Global spend on voice solutions will reach $3.3 billion
- More than 500,000 RTLS implementations will be active worldwide
Mass Appeal, Massive Adoption
Augmented Reality is finally starting to gain mass appeal in industrial sectors, thanks to maturing technologies and demonstrable ROI from early adopters. Voice-directed solutions represent a considerably older technology but are also undergoing a technological revolution thanks to deep learning-based voice recognition that vastly improves ease-of-use and reliability. These solutions are both being leveraged to assist the warehouse workforce by providing operational instructions in a clear and hands-free way.
The drive for digitally-enabled workforce productivity in the warehouse is incorporating the human worker into the Internet of Things at a rapid pace. The increased use of RTLS technologies, such as Bluetooth Low Energy, Wi-Fi tracking, and RFID, are allowing warehouse operators to analyze productivity of the workforce, as well as the movement of physical assets. Workers can be monitored in a way that respects privacy while generating valuable operational data that can drive workforce efficiency over time.
Technology Partners To Watch
Companies such as RealWare, Kontakt.io, Panasonic, Lucas Systems, and TopSystem are providing warehouses with a wide range of technology solutions that can provide incremental advantages. Driving productivity in this way can be an attractive alternative to more expensive automation projects, which is a concurrent trend in warehousing with the potential to transform operations in the longer term.
The combination of multiple devices and technology solutions can have a positive compound effect on workforce productivity. However, companies must be smart about how they integrate multiple technical solutions within the same stack to ensure they remain complementary and ROI is maximized.
For more insights into the Intelligent Supply Chain, download our new technology analysis report, Devices and Solutions for Workforce Productivity in Warehouse Logistics. The report is based on extensive primary interviews, providing an in-depth analysis of key market trends and factors for related technologies.