How can warehouses keep up with industry growth?

March 28, 2022

Despite the difficulties and disruptions faced by supply chain leaders in the wake of the pandemic, the warehouse industry is still on track for significant growth in the coming years. According to a recent report from Research and Markets, the global warehousing and storage market is expected to exceed $600 billion by 2027, compared to $451.9 billion in 2021. This expansion is undoubtedly driven by the accelerated growth of the e-commerce market, which Valuates Reports predicts will reach $1.5 trillion by 2027.

At the same time, experts foresee more challenges ahead, deeming a return to normalcy unlikely anytime soon. So, how can warehouse leaders overcome future disruptions while keeping up with industry growth?

Supply chain management
Prior to the pandemic, the primary goals of any logistics leader were to cut costs and increase efficiency. Warehouse centers were mostly seen as cost centers in need of optimization. Now, this view has changed as more people recognize how integral effective supply chain management is to warehouse companies.

While supply chain management is nothing new, leaders are increasingly realizing the need to create resilient logistics strategies. This emerging c-suite-level approach is quickly becoming an essential tactic, as companies bogged down by old methods and processes are often the first to fall behind. As warehouses shift their management techniques, they require increased visibility on valuable data like location tracking, inventory levels, shipping times, storage capacity and much more.

Optimize antiquated systems
Re-imagining old ways of doing things and replacing legacy technology are some of the first concrete steps a leader should consider when trying to change with the times. Whereas before, logistics centers could rely on forecasting data, now it can be nearly impossible to predict delays or disruptions. When an incident does occur, it creates a domino effect that can have a significant financial impact on vendors, warehouses and retailers.

It's never been more critical for logistics leaders to leverage industry experience with advanced technology to enhance supply chain visibility and increase forecasting ability to mitigate the effects of potential disruptions. This might mean implementing new technology like software or even wearable tech, robotics and autonomous vehicles. However, outdated warehouse management systems tend to be a top priority, as recent software advancements can significantly improve productivity and efficiency.

Recruiting, retaining and boomeranging
As labor shortages, high turnover and low retention rates continue to burden the logistics industry, employers must focus on improving their recruitment and retention strategies. Whether it's increasing wages, offering benefits packages or promoting other perks, leaders need to attract the right candidates while keeping existing employees satisfied. This can be difficult, especially when new candidate pools are hard to come by.

One emerging trend many warehouse managers are taking advantage of is the "boomerang" employee. Boomerang employees are people that have previously worked for and subsequently left your company before returning. The ideal boomerang worker is someone who was let go or resigned on good terms and has gained experience outside of your company. These employees can bring a lot of value to warehouses, providing different perspectives and knowledge while also opening a new pool of potential candidates.