The key to running a successful warehouse is organisation. And keeping on top of industry trends is a major part of that. By making sure you’ve applied the latest processes and technologies, you can be sure that your warehouse is as efficient and productive as possible, but it can be difficult to keep track of every development.

Risk assessment and planning

There’s a lot happening in the UK economy that the warehousing and logistics industry needs to be prepared to adapt to. Uncertainty around Brexit and other issues means that a lot of practices and relationships that have worked perfectly well before now need restructuring, and we also need to make sure we can come up with fast solutions to unexpected problems. For example, many warehouses are focussing on effective risk management and are actively building relationships with potential alternative suppliers to prepare.

Sustainability and transparency

A key trend for consumers is the eco-credentials of their orders. While environmental concerns have been around for some time, which has led to some warehouses boasting their efficiency without providing much evidence, the rise in demand for sustainability and transparency means that you now have to prove how your warehouse is in line with changing attitudes. This could include cutting down on waste by going for more energy efficient electrical systems and highlighting this change on social media, or by choosing eco-friendlier packaging options.

Fulfilment responsiveness

Rapid delivery is becoming more and more important to consumers as they continue to choose speed and convenience over cost. That means that getting orders to the customer on time is absolutely crucial. And, with the rise of same day delivery services as retailers try to match Amazon’s one-hour and two-hour delivery options, there needs to be quicker picking and packing processes implemented in warehouses. There also needs to be better communication between each step of the supply chain to ensure they can provide competition.

Smart warehousing

It’s almost impossible to run a warehouse without a warehouse management system, but in 2020 having a good WMS has become even more invaluable. From forecasting trends based on previous data to receiving real-time updates from suppliers, warehouses that use management systems are often addressing issues before they even happen. A WMS also make it easier to apply more complicated methods, such as batch and wave picking, as it’s much easier to plan and keep track of all movement. Operators can also receive instructions and updates through handheld devices, and some systems can suggest more efficient routes for them to take through the warehouse.

These are just some of the most significant trends in warehousing and logistics shaping the industry in 2020. By keeping these trends in mind, you can figure out which changes you need to make to ensure your warehouse is as efficient and productive as possible.

Craig Powell, MD, Balloon One