Future Predictions for the Material Handling Industry

Future Predictions for the Material Handling Industry

Many industries and businesses are undergoing change and often for the better. Whether it’s come about as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic or another factor, there are several predictions that have been made regarding the material handling sector, regardless of the company you run or the nature of the products you handle.

These predictions could come about in the next year or the next ten years, but one thing is for certain, the logistics industry will see a difference in how operations are run and the speed at which tasks and applications are carried out within the warehouse and other settings.

E-commerce will continue to gain popularity

As smartphone and smart device technology continues to advance, the e-commerce market will continue to thrive, which is good news for many businesses, especially if they have been forced to move wholly online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Buying items online has never been easier and as a result of this newfound convenience, companies are seeing an influx in online orders and will then have to adapt to suit this new shopping trend.

Many will have to expand their premises or even buy or lease a building that’s large enough to meet demand. As a result, an increased fleet of material handling equipment will be needed which can be extremely expensive. But there are ways to cut costs when it comes to tailoring your operations to the growing e-commerce market, including:

  • Purchasing refurbished machinery
  • Choosing to hire the equipment you need
  • Expanding existing premises instead of buying or renting a larger one
  • Implementing space-saving equipment, such as additional racking or mezzanine flooring

There’ll be increased competition

As the e-commerce market grows so will the competition. With an increasing number of businesses offering an online service, no matter what industry they work in, there’ll naturally be more choice for consumers as to which company they pick to purchase items through. This is where your business needs to adapt to the ever-changing market and that includes keeping a close watch on what your competitors are doing in order to stay ahead of the game.

The workforce will begin to change

Brexit and an aging workforce will see the logistics industry losing a considerable number of employees. With baby boomers retiring in their masses and others returning to their homes abroad, the industry will experience a lack of workers.

The key to filling this void is to market jobs with material handling as the stimulating, highly-rewarding job it is. Offering apprenticeships, internships and work experience to younger people will also help to bring new generations into the fold.

As well as hiring new, fresh-minded workers to help operations run smoothly, the industry will also see a change in the technology that’s used throughout the warehouse, and so you should keep an eye out for the following developments:

Robotics and automation are on the rise

Where we already have automated warehousing and order picking systems available, this technology will continue to evolve and lower in cost to make it more affordable for the average warehouse owner to enhance their operations. This new technology will be available in the following configurations:

  • Part-to-picker
  • Picker-to-part
  • Single-piece picking

Forklifts will also follow a similar trend, with new, high-speed and automated technology that is also cost-effective. The industry is also looking at driver-less developments and the implementation of drones, as pioneered by Amazon. Not only will this make forklift operation safer, it’ll also save you, the warehouse owner, money in the long run.

Sensor technology will be more affordable

Sensor technology will also see further developments, thus making that more affordable as well. Radio frequency identification (RFID) and GPS already exist, but it’s not readily available to all warehouse owners purely due to the associated costs. The implementation of RFID and GPS will help to facilitate and track warehouse operations through the following:

  • Shipping
  • Pooling of shipments
  • Modal transfer
  • Easy facilitating load breaking

According to manufacturing.net, sensors that will automatically communicate with the internet will be commonplace by 2025, all without human intervention or assistance.

Wearable computing technology will be more commonplace

Manufacturing.net predicts that by 2025, warehouses will have to take advantage of the same wearable mobile computing technologies that are now also used by their consumers. By doing this, logistics and material handling operations will be shared in real time, allowing customers to access the information they want to know regarding their order and that includes:

    Where there order is in real time

    How much longer they’ll have to wait for their order to arrive

Vast amounts of data will be harnessed effectively

Large amounts of data will be mined and computing power will be used in order to help businesses identify consumer behaviour and other trends in order for them to make specific predictions about the future of the company. Once these predictions have been made, more informed decisions about material handling, production and logistics can be made, helping to better the business as a result.

Warehouses will be more sustainable workplaces

In order to operate more efficiently and in an eco-friendly fashion, there’ll have to be a stronger focus on sustainability as a whole throughout the warehouse. Every aspect of the business should be looked at and specifically tailored towards environmentally-friendly practices and initiatives.

Devising a road map will help to maintain this focus and it should include adopting eco-friendly machinery, such as swapping out diesel-powered machines for electric or LPG forklifts. The more advanced this technology becomes, the more choice there’ll be when it comes to switching equipment for sustainable alternatives.

Refurbished Forklifts have an impressive range of high-quality, durable second-hand machinery available tht’ll stand the test of time. With safe and reliable pieces of equipment to choose from, you’ll be able to acquire the machinery you need, including electric forklifts, diesel forklifts, LPG forklifts, reach trucks, order pickers, pallet trucks and more. If you’d like further information about how Refurbished Forklifts can help you today, get in touch with a member of our friendly, knowledgeable team – we’re always happy to hear from you.

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