3 Supply Chain, Warehousing and Logistics Trends to Watch

The network behind warehousing and logistics is changing rapidly. Global trade will likely look different within the next four years as political policies develop. Heavy hitting retailers like Amazon are investing in the development of robotics. Warehousing professionals speculate about the future of the supply chain networks, both locally and globally. Here are a few trends to watch as the supply-chain and logistics industries evolve.

The Shift in Global Supply Chain Networks

With new politicians in Washington, the U.S. is changing how it does businesses with countries like China and Mexico, causing a global ripple effect. According to Forbes writer Steve Banker, “Large multi-nationals will be paying very close attention to the design of their supply chain networks – to where their factories and warehouses are located and how they flow products to customers.” What to watch for? How the “Made in America” trend impacts the face of global logistics and domestic logistics, and its impact on warehousing jobs in America.

Automation, Robotics and the Rise of E-Commerce

There are a number of technical challenges that need to be solved before robots that can perform all the detailed work of humans in the warehouse. But big companies like Google are heavily invested in the development of robotics. What to watch for? At some point, automation technology will become robust enough to dramatically decrease need for the current types of jobs in warehouses. But the demand is rising enough that these jobs may be redistributed elsewhere in the business.

Here’s what to watch for: There’s precise level of accuracy required in order picking, especially for consumer-direct fulfillment, and the demand for direct-to-consumer custom picking is growing. Even with robots in the warehouse, the massive e-commerce industry may require human workers in other roles.

According to Clint Reiser, a writer for LogisticsViewpoints.com, “[There is] a need for flexible picking solutions for direct-to-consumer fulfillment that can scale-up and still offer high levels of picking accuracy … achieving and maintaining the performance at a reasonable fulfillment cost is the challenge.” Right now, that requires human skill.

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