Slow Adoption Seen for Warehouse Management Technology to Improve Operational Efficiency

Survey suggests continued focus on visibility and a need for more process automation as companies look to drive cost reductions through improvements in warehouse performance


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Current Practices



  • More than 80 percent of respondents said they have automated data collection to streamline operations, but of those, 15 percent noted their systems needed updating and 37 percent said that automation was only partial and there were still manual steps involved. Surprisingly, 19 percent of respondents do not use any form of automated data collection.
  • When asked about methods for inventory control, 65 percent of respondents practice cycle counting and verify the items in certain bins on a regular basis; 16 percent have periodic physical inventories, counting every item in the warehouse; only 15 percent have real-time visibility into inventory location.
  • For measuring warehouse efficiency, more than 59 percent noted accurate shipments as a means to measure efficiency, 57 percent focus on on-time shipments, 49 percent leverage units per individual operator and 48 percent highlight complete shipments.



  • 41 percent of respondents noted they have visibility into location of goods in almost real-time, and 22.5 percent said they have same-day visibility.
  • 65 percent of respondents use barcode scanning to confirm all or most transactions, and an astonishing 23 percent of respondents say there is no confirmation mechanism used — rather, they trust the worker to get it right.
  • Of those organizations where workers determine put-away locations for inbound goods, 4 percent noted tracking of locations is paper-based, 23 percent also noted a paper log, but added that the data is later keyed into an electronic tracking system, 27 percent use a mobile device, and 8 percent do not record locations in any format.
  • When asked about directing the order picking process as well as ensuring accuracy, 49 percent of respondents still use paper-based documentation, while 38 percent leverage mobile devices such as barcode scanners and voice systems. Less than 10 percent leverage any sort of warehouse automation technology.





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