Where is the warehouse headed? Arnold Maltz, Ph.D., is an associate professor of supply chain management and faculty director of global logistics programs at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business. He will address the future of warehousing as the 2015 Essentials of Warehousing Course keynote speaker in Tempe, Ariz.
According to Maltz, warehouse managers should plan to confront four critical trends to remain competitive.
Multichannel Retail – E-commerce has changed the retail landscape: Consumers have shown they are more than happy to make purchases online. “Warehouse owners have to decide: Do you want to participate in consumer fulfillment or stay with stores, distribution centers, and industrial customers?” Maltz says. And with that decision comes more decisions about how this transition can be made.
Automation and IT – A system upgrade is inevitable. Customer demand is here for increased real-time visibility and KPIs. Warehouses need to be thinking about new systems and automation considerations not only to provide customers the data, but to increase productivity. “Third-parties with multiple customers under one roof will primarily rely on humans for the flexibility that is fundamental to their operations. Getting the mix right is important,” Maltz says.
People – Language barriers will remain a problem into the foreseeable future. Having multilingual software and management will become even more important – as will having a corporate culture that embraces diversity. “Think about career paths. What kinds of growth opportunities can you offer front-line personnel?” Maltz asks.
Facilities – Warehouse services are changing as e-commerce drives immediacy and location drives more value than size. “You need to think through how you want to participate.” Maltz says. “For example, you could help retailers set up their stores at mini-fulfillment centers, or you could provide that service yourself.” Smaller DCs in cities will hold the most value, but they need to be retrofitted for the changing business environment. “Equally, important, there may be other uses for these facilities that are more profitable for the company,” he says.
Do not miss Maltz or the other presenters during the 2015 IWLA Essentials of Warehousing Course, Oct. 6-9, in Tempe, Ariz. Register today!