2018 Warehouse / Distribution Center Survey: Labor crunch driving automation
By Roberto Michel · November 5, 2018
The findings from our “2018 Warehouse and Distribution Center (DC) Operations Survey” cascade from strong economic growth and a tight labor market on the one hand, and e-commerce growth and order fulfillment complexities on the other. Strike these mega-trends against each other like flint against steel, and sparks will fly.
In fact, the labor crunch grew further as the No. 1 issue in the survey, while respondents report increased use of warehouse management systems (WMS) and other software, additional automation, and greater use of metrics and more advanced picking methods to cope with these challenges.
A few of the highlights include:
- inability to attract and retain a qualified hourly workforce was the leading industry issue, cited by 55% of respondents, up 6% from last year;
- the third year of asking about omni-channel fulfillment, 21% now say they have an omni-channel operation, up from 19% last year, while 40% say they support e-commerce fulfillment;
- and use of some type of warehouse management system (WMS) reached 93%—the first time that response topped 90%.
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