Demand for warehousing facilities has been steadily increasing thanks to the strength of international trade and the continual growth of e-commerce. With customer expectations for rapid delivery rising, warehouses are struggling to process the increased volumes of goods passing through facilities in time. The problem is compounded by labor shortages and staffing challenges. The need to adopt technology to alleviate these issues is driving significant investment in Augmented Reality (AR), voice-directed solutions, and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) for workforce analytics. By 2025, global spending on AR in warehousing will reach over US$23 billion, US$3.3 billion will be spent on voice solutions, and RTLS will grow to 500,000 implementations for people tracking across all verticals, according to ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.
“Fulfilling higher order volumes is difficult when warehouses are struggling to hire and maintain staff, and automation is cost-prohibitive for many distributors,” said Nick Finill, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. “Warehouses are therefore increasingly using digital tools that can empower the human worker, deliver efficiency gains, and also reduce the time it takes to onboard new or temporary staff.”
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.
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,” concluded Finill. “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.”
These findings are from ABI Research’s Devices and Solutions for Workforce Productivity in Warehouse Logistics technology analysis report. This report is part of the company’s Intelligent Supply Chain service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Technology Analysis reports present an in-depth analysis of key market trends and factors for a specific technology.
About ABI Research
ABI Research provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, which reshape workforces, identify holes in a market, create new business models and drive new revenue streams. ABI’s own research visionaries take stances early on those technologies, publishing groundbreaking studies often years ahead of other technology advisory firms. ABI analysts deliver their conclusions and recommendations in easily and quickly absorbed formats to ensure proper context. Our analysts strategically guide visionaries to take action now and inspire their business to realize a bigger picture. For more information about subscribing to ABI’s Research Services as well as Industrial and Custom Solutions, visionaries can contact us at +1.516.624.2500 in the Americas, +44.203.326.0140 in Europe, +65.6592.0290 in Asia-Pacific or visit www.abiresearch.com.
About ABI Research
ABI Research is a global technology intelligence firm delivering actionable research and strategic guidance to technology leaders, innovators, and decision makers around the world. Our research focuses on the transformative technologies that are dramatically reshaping industries, economies, and workforces today.
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