Megatrends in warehousing, supply chain and logistics

TM Insight is Australia’s leading warehouse consultancy. Here our team shares five megatrends that we have observed in the supply chain, logistics and warehousing sectors in recent times.

The robots are here!

Robotics and automation, including fixed robotics, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) are now commonplace in Australian warehouses. These solutions drive significant improvements in throughput and costs in warehouse operations, particularly when used in combination with artificial intelligence. In the context of robotics in the supply chain management, warehousing and logistics, industries, artificial intelligence can be used to allocate resources, forecast transportation needs and conduct quality assessments. We are routinely seeing warehouses in China that are close to achieving the holy grail of zero-labour. In particular, we recently observed a major warehousing and logistics partner that had successfully replaced 800 workers with 150 robots. As labour availability continues to tighten, robotics and automation will become an increasingly important in Australian warehouses and logistics operations.

Blockchain

Blockchain technology is expected to revolutionise the logistics, supply chain and warehousing sectors in the next decade. Any form of exchange, agreement or tracking can be managed on blockchain, without reliance on third party intermediaries. This means that partners within supply chain can transact directly with one another, which will enable unprecedented speed, trust and security. Blockchain will also enable vastly improved data integration, which will result in the ability to trace provenance right back to the raw material procurement of the product. Australian start-up Lumachain is promising that this transparent view of provenance will help to eliminate unethical labour and sourcing practices. In the United States and China, Walmart is using blockchain technology to trace individual cuts of meat from animal through to store, monitoring quality control factors (such as cold storage requirements) end-to-end and in granular detail.

Supersize me

High bay warehouses are now a fixture of the Australian warehousing scene. We are now seeing construction of ever larger warehouses, some of which exceed 40m in height. Advantages of high bay warehouses include increased storage density, reduced labour, faster throughput and faster customer service. High bay warehouse technology is evolving rapidly, while simultaneously becoming more and more cost effective. As a result, the TM Insight team is actively developing high bay warehouses for an ever-increasing variety of sectors.

eCommerce

Online shopping has experienced explosive growth in recent years and warehousing, logistics and supply chain operators must evolve to keep up. In addition to their voracious appetite for new things, consumers are increasingly demanding faster delivery capability. As online sales growth skyrockets, many businesses are rapidly outgrowing their warehouse and logistics capacity, and many legacy warehouses need significant reconfiguration in order to handle the new demands of ecommerce.

Sustainability

The myth that sustainability is in conflict with economic success has been well and truly busted. These days sustainability is increasingly important for financial performance, as well as public and community relations. We regularly work with clients in the logistics, supply chain and warehousing space on briefs to optimise the sustainability of their operations. By far the greatest factor which influences sustainability is warehouse location, which is of course the biggest driver of transport requirements, and the popular idea of “food miles”. We are also working with clients to achieve net zero energy, through the use of solar panels and offset activities.

If you’re planning a warehouse development project, give us a call to learn how we may be able to help.