The Modern Warehouse - 5 Ways They Have EvolvedThe warehouse has undergone significant change in recent times—here are the 5 most significant ways in which it has evolved.

The supply chain has changed drastically over the years. With evolving customer demands and corresponding technological and logistical advancements to match them, it’s in a state of continual progress. No piece of the supply chain embodies that progress more than the warehouse.

As such, warehouses have seen monumental development recently. This development has come, in large part, due to the e-commerce boom that has characterized the 2010’s. With the rise of e-commerce has come a number of pressures, often stemming from warehouses having to accommodate greater demand. So, just how has warehousing altered itself in order meet these new challenges?

This ebook highlights 5 of the most prominent ways in which the warehouse has transformed in recent years.

What Does the Modern Warehouse Look and How has it Changed?


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The Most Significant Ways in Which Warehousing is Changing — Part 2Given the changes warehousing has experienced recently and the multitude of new technology associated with it, it’s critical to know what’s next for warehouses.

Warehouses have become a hub for innovation in supply chains. Due to the pressures placed upon them by modernity, they’ve had to grow. As such, warehouses are now a source of technological advancement where they were once stagnant. Consequently, they’re now highly connected, responsive, transparent, and forward thinking. Part 1 of this warehousing overview highlighted many of the changes taking place that lead to these developments. However, there are many more worth covering.

This article by Morai Logistics points to 4 prominent ways in which warehousing is changing as companies prepare them for the future.

Warehousing on Demand

The modern economy is moving towards sharing platforms, where services are provided on a need-be basis. Apps like Uber and Airbnb have had monumental success tapping into this public desire. Now, a similar approach is starting to gain traction in the warehouse space. Apps have been developed that allow warehouse owners to rent out spare space. As they take off, they’ll flip what unused space means for warehouse owners. Where once it’d be cost that provided no value, going forward it’ll be an additional source of money.

Internet of Business elaborates on the transformative nature of on demand warehousing,

The idea might seem simple enough, but the implications could be transformative. For example, organisations no longer need to think of warehousing in terms of massive regional hubs that require long-distance road haulage (with the expense and environmental impact that entails). Instead, they can now manage it as a national or international grid of smaller facilities that can be expanded or contracted on demand.


With all the technology present in warehouses, the need for connectivity is greater than ever. The variety of technology means data is coming in from a multitude of sources, raising the risk of data silos. With that in mind, to mitigate for that potentiality, warehousing has to involve integration.

An article by Supply Chain 24/7 expands on this,

In a hyper-connected warehouse, operating systems are laid out in a highly advanced matrix to accommodate the growing mix of technologies. Today’s warehouses hold bandwidth for technologies like barcoding, IoT, RFID scanning, GPS, load optimization and future technology innovations that may emerge. With this tech in place, logistics managers can quickly make and execute decisions.


Sensors are set to be an ever-growing presence in warehouses. Why sensors? Because with them comes an influx of data. That being data that is continually being collected. Which, in turn means transparency and visibility throughout the warehouse. Furthermore, sensors play a big role in the earlier mentioned connectivity as well as the predictive maintenance and real-time tracking mentioned in part 1.


Finally, another technology set to a have a significant impact on warehouses in the future are drones. This is because drones have the potential to be used to keep track of inventory.

A post 6 River Systems details the role drones will play in warehouses in the future,

Drones are likely to have a role in the warehouse of the future, as well. In August of 2017, researchers at MIT announced that they had been programming drones to relay RFID as a way to aid in inventory control — an innovation that could make tagging obsolete in the future. This technology allows small drones to fly above a warehouse floor to read RFID tags from tens of meters away

While drones’ ability for tagging will be incredibly valuable to warehousing, it’s important to point out that currently concerns remain in regards to them. The chief concern being that of they jeopardize the level safety in warehouses. Thus, less disruptive, lightweight drones have to be developed that can still perform the necessary tagging.

The most significant Ways in Which Warehousing is Changing — Part 1Warehousing has undergone a massive shift over the past few years, aligning itself with smart, technologically driven supply chains, but where’s it going next?

Warehousing, for a long time, was seen as the least dynamic and intelligent part of supply chains. However, that’s no longer the case. Modern warehousing is smart warehousing. Moreover, given the escalating demands, which are growing more strict year over year, placed upon supply chains, warehouses have to operate with greater efficiency, speed, and agility than ever before. As such, warehouses have become increasingly technology dependent. And that transformation is only set to continue.

As a recent Supply Chain Digital article points out,

Warehousing and logistics, an industry with complex operations in need of flexible and innovative solutions. Currently within the world of warehousing and logistics, companies are lining up to jump on the digital transformation bandwagon.

This article by Morai Logistics underscores 4 critical ways in which warehousing has changed and will continue to.

Wireless Technology for Real-Time Tracking

One the most important things for the modern day warehouse is having a real-time view of inventory. This is because the demands placed upon supply chains means companies have to continually be monitoring their inventory. Essentially, inventory always has to be ready to go and in the right state to go. With that in mind, it’s crucial to be able to track it. To make sure there’s enough of it and that it’s good condition.

A post by Supply Chain 24/7 highlights one of the more prominent real-time tracking technologies,

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags attached to each inventory item can transmit real-time data to and from the warehouse floor and inventory management applications, allowing warehouse teams to use mobile devices to track inventory from the moment it arrives.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance doesn’t refer to a single kind of technology. Rather, it’s a variety of technologies that contribute to the same thing. That being, proactive maintenance of warehouse machinery. Consequently, instead of waiting for equipment breaking down and causing disruptions in operation, the new way forward is to avoid the breakdowns taking place.

A piece by Internet of Business explains the numerous technologies that can be employed to achieve this,

Today a mix of technologies, including enterprise asset management (EAM), digital twins – exploded 3D representations of objects and their components – sensors, RFID tags, smart supply chains, and AI, is allowing organisations to gain unprecedented insight into the lifecycle of products, components, and even materials.

Robots & Cobots

There are a multitude of tasks that robots are simply better suited for than humans in warehouses. In particular, thoughtless, tedious, repetitive feats of labour. Vitally, not only do robots conduct these tasks with greater efficiency and productivity, they also allow human workers to focus on more important tasks as well as avoid injury. Additionally, the future of warehousing seems to be one where robots don’t even have to replace human workers. Hence, the advent of cobots—collaborative robots. Cobots enable a future where robots work besides and in conjunction with humans, not instead of them.


Lastly, supply chains are increasingly going green. There’s a number of reasons for this, from legislative to ethical. Ultimately, regardless of the reasons, the movement towards sustainability is undeniable. As such, warehousing has to take it into account as well.

The earlier mentioned Supply Chain 24/7 article outlines what sustainable warehouses could look like going forward,

Alternative energy and energy efficiency are no longer optional as warehouse operators bring more automation into the warehouse. Solar panels, LED lighting, cool-roof systems, thermal glass, clerestory windows, and other new green materials and innovations are leading warehouses into a new age.

online shopping image spread

Changing consumer behaviour is reshaping and revitalizing industrial sectors by funneling resources into warehouse construction.

According to an article by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the digital market place is having a physical impact on urban landscapes. Throughout the U.S, industrial pockets are seeing a “economic renaissance” reports the article’s author, Erica E. Phillips.

Large city malls and brick & mortar stores are being closed throughout the country due to dropping consumer interest. In their place, more people are shopping online for what they need. As a result, more warehouses are needed to store everything. This has led to formerly struggling industrial areas receiving fresh investment as land prices for new distribution centres increases.

Online Shopping—The World’s Biggest Marketplace

It can be hard to imagine, but even the idea of online shopping is still relatively new. The earliest version of the concept only dates back to 1979. Industry giants such as Amazon, Alibaba and Ebay are only 23, 18 and 22 years old respectively. In the two decades since they started (a little less in Ebay’s case) they, and companies like them, have revolutionized how people shop.

According to

  • In 2013, US mobile commerce revenue amounted to more than 38 billion US dollars
  • Alternative payment methods such as digital wallets or online payment providers have seen increased adoption rates and rapid growth in the past few years. Ebay-owned PayPal is one of the current market leaders with more than 14 billion US dollars in mobile payment volume alone
  • A 2016 study by analytics firm comScore found that shoppers make around 51% of their purchases online. The number of has been consistently rising by 1% for the last few years

Even luxury retailers are turning towards being more online shopping-friendly. A different WSJ article reported that retailers of high-end goods are scrambling to go online as sales are starting to fall. This is because even wealthy customers like having access to better deals and selection at their finger tips.

From Shopping Centre to Housing, and Neighbourhood Mall to Restaurants

As more families shop for their necessities online, where does that leave traditional brick and mortar stores? Unsurprisingly, many have either dedicated part of their operations to compete online themselves, changed to become more service-based, or closed down altogether.

Phillips comments on how the space shopping centres used to occupy is being re-purposed:

Many cities are razing downtown shopping centers from a bygone era to make way for hotels, office buildings and new housing developments. Suburban malls trying to keep the doors open have shifted their focus to higher-scale restaurants and new entertainment offerings, such as golf driving ranges, wall climbing and skydiving simulators.

All this is a win-win for consumers and urbanites. As warehouses become a way a life for formerly struggling communities, consumers everywhere will have access to a wider range of products and deals. The weekly shopping can then be completed in just a few minutes. This leaves more time for a family to explore the new restaurants that have sprung up where the old malls used to be.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.


If you’ve been to any public places the last two weeks, then you’ve seen children and adults wandering around pointing and swiping at their phones. This is because of the new app Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game where people hunt, capture, and battle adorable creatures that they can find just by walking outside. The app has been out a short awhile, but has already reached meteoric levels of popularity as, just a day after it was available, it was already installed on more US Android phones than Tinder.

The application of augmented reality (AR) technology isn’t limited to gaming. Aeronautics and automotive manufacturers have been implementing AR with heads-up displays for years. Although, it is only now that the technology is seeing more commercial use as wearable AR technology is becoming more affordable. In fact, AR is predicted to become a $90 billion industry by 2020.

Even for just next year, the value of AR is estimated to be over $6 billion with industrial sector (manufacturing, distribution, and logistics) seeing the largest utilization of the technology.

What is augmented reality technology?

“VR is complete immersion in a virtual world – with no outside stimulus. VR is much more common and is mostly used in gaming and entertainment. AR is technology that alters what the wearer sees in his/her reality” writes blogger Kristi Montgomery in this TalkingLogistics post. The alterations to what a user perceives can be made to motivate towards a behaviour, such as with Zombie, Run!, a phone app that turns real-world running into a game, or it can provide useful information real-time like in the case of DHL’s successful pilot project which tested smart glasses and augmented reality in a warehouse in the Netherlands.

AR in Action

DHL recently published its results for the pilot program it conducted in collaboration Ricoh and Ubimax which had staff in a Netherlands warehouse be guided by graphics displayed on a smart glass.

The aim of ‘vision picking’ was to reduce errors and increase efficiency which the project did very successfully as it resulted in 25% efficiency increase during the picking process. Because picking tasks accounting for 55% to 65% of the total cost of warehousing operations, the potential value of that the efficiency adds to picking is huge.

Given the value that AR can add to a supply chain, it is no surprise that DHL is not the only logistics company that is trialing the technology. The AIMIA Institute described another example in this post “In the middle of last year, Active Ants reported similar results from when they equipped their stock pickers with Google Glass. Active Ants used Google Glass with a custom-built app and they saw an efficiency increase of 15%”.

There are still several barriers to the wide-spread implementation of AR technology in logistics to be sure, but it is clear that there is also lot of potential value in it as well. As the cost and efficiency of the technology evolves, so will the innovative changes that VR can offer to supply chains.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.


With so much discussion over omni-channel fulfillment being the future, it is interesting then that only 19% of the top 250 retailers are currently fulfilling omni-channel demand profitably, according to a new the third annual Sands Future of Retail Report.

Despite such a small percentage of top retailers making a profit from omni-channel fulfillment, the service is in high demand by customers and growing.

For example, for nine out of ten consumers, free shipping was reported as the top incentive to shop more online. This number has grown to become the top consideration. One-day shipping (69%) and free returns (68%) also continue to be top drivers.

The Future of Retail and Logistics

There were other key findings of note in the study:

  • Nearly a third of consumers (31%) now shop online at least once a week, an increase of 41% from two years ago.
  • Only 9% of consumers have used same-day shipping in the past year, but almost half (49%) say same-day shipping would make them shop more online if it were offered more frequently.
  • 40% of consumers expect to receive their first drone-delivered package in the next two years or less. Less than a third (31%) think it will take more than five years.
  • Among consumers who don’t trust drones to deliver packages, theft and damaged packages are the top concerns (72% each), but safety (68%) and privacy (60%) seem less risky than they were a year ago.

A theme throughout the study from customers was the expectation of greater and greater speed of the supply chain. This can be seen by the finding that consumers who shop online more than twice a week are twice as likely to be persuaded by same-day shipping as consumers who shop online only a few times a year (63% vs. 32%).

The main reason that so few top retailers are yet to make a profit from omni-channel fulfillment is simply that they have yet to figure out how.

According to the 2015 Third-Party Logistics Study, fully one-third of all respondents (nearly 800 manufacturers, retailers and 3PLs) say they’re not currently prepared to handle omni-channel fulfillment.

Tim Foster, managing director, Asia-Pacific, with supply chain consulting firm Chainalytics weighed in on the discussion.

“Forester believes manufacturers and retailers will address this market transformation by eliminating non-value-adding activities within the supply chain. He cites the example of pharmaceutical distribution, where the traditional supply chain flow from manufacturer to wholesaler to retail pharmacy is being replaced by either a direct flow from manufacturer to retailer, or a loop with the 3PL in the center” summarizes Material Handling and Logistics News in this article.

3PLs have some time to catch up to customer demand. Privacy and security concerns are hampering the demand for omni-channel distribution in the areas of mobile phone payment. “This could explain why adoption has essentially remained flat year over year, with about a third of consumers having used these applications. Still, U.S. mobile payment transactions are expected triple in 2016 to $27 billion, a sign that a few eager early adopters and the growth of Apple Pay could eventually force more widespread changes in consumer behavior” concludes the article.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.


Earlier this month, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) and the Council on Competitiveness (Council) release the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index report. The most interesting highlight from the report is that by 2020, the U.S is expected to the most competitive manufacturing nation with China moving to the number two spot.

The study used an in-depth analysis of survey responses from over 500 chief executive officers and senior leaders at manufacturing companies around the world. Respondents were asked to rank nations in terms of current and future manufacturing competitiveness.

Other major highlights of the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index (GMCI) include:

  • The U.S is highly competitive in terms of the share of high skill and technology contribution to exports and labor productivity as measured to gross domestic product (GDP) due to continued heavy investment in talent and technology.
  • Among the BRIC nations, manufacturing executives expressed optimism for only China and India by 2020. The other three – Brazil, Russia and India – have seen continuous declines in the study’s rankings over the past six years, despite aspirations that they may emerge as manufacturing goliaths.
  • Brazil’s political uncertainty, Russia’s geopolitical activities and impact from the slide in global crude oil prices, matched with India’s challenged economic and policy actions around infrastructure and investments, have likely triggered the decline from the BRIC’s manufacturing competitiveness peak.
  • The U.S. stands out as the anchor for the North American region with the highest level of manufacturing investments, a strong energy profile, and high-quality talent, infrastructure and innovation. Canada’s low trade barriers, tariff-free zone and investments in sectors key to its growing high-tech manufacturing future, along with Mexico’s 40 free trade agreements, low labor costs and close proximity to the U.S. round out the region.

China moving to the number two spot for manufacturing isn’t surprising given the meteoric rise of worker wages which has increased at a 13.7 percent annual rate, or close to six times the overall inflation rate according to the U.S Department of Commerce:

While China’s rapid wage growth is not the norm in many other countries, manufacturing wage growth in a number of countries has easily outpaced wage growth in the United States—and may well surprise manufacturers who are not expecting such growth. Between 2000 and 2013, annualized manufacturing wage gains were, for example, 6.5 percent in Brazil, 5.4 percent in the Philippines, 6.7 percent in South Korea, and 7.9 percent in Poland

“Made in the USA is making a big comeback,” says Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness. “Contrary to the view that manufacturing is dirty, dumb, dangerous and disappearing, our study points to a manufacturing future characterized by innovation-driven growth…The manufacturing rebound in America is all about advanced manufacturing, not bringing low-wage, low-level manufacturing back. That will make us competitive at the high-end of advanced manufacturing where jobs are fewer and require a high level of skill.”

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

Third party logistics (3PL) companies offer resources for companies to outsource all or part of their supply chain management. When you select your 3PL you are essentially selecting another member of your organization. As the 3PL will be acting an extension of your company, it is essential that you find out if the 3PL you are viewing is the right fit for your business.

This month we’ve created an infographic to help you select the right 3rd party logistics provider!

5 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a 3PL


That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!


We are in mid November and for many people this means that it’s the best time to start to thinking about who they’ll be giving a gift to and what that gift will be. If organized, they’ll set a budget and a timeline so they aren’t scrambling at 11 PM the night before in a dollar store for the perfect gift.

If you are working in a distribution centre however, the planning and preparation stage for your building/company would have started about four months ago back near the end of July. You would now either be in the middle or very close to peak season, meaning that your building could see an inventory increase of over 40%.

Given how close the holiday season is, there is likely not much that can be done if your distribution centre is only just now scrambling to put together peak plans for your building. Rather than this be a list of tips for planning a successful peak, consider this a quick checklist to determine exactly how rocky a peak your supply chain may have. As the saying goes,

“the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – Robert Burns .

Filling personnel gaps

Does your distribution centre have the right people, in the right places, in the right numbers? Being in the peak season means that overall volume of your buildings will increase. The amount of items received and shipped will increase. The amount of items being stored and necessary space will increase. Quality control in your building’s processes will need to be increased. Even available security and janitorial personnel will need to increase in order to service the increase in personnel in other areas of the building.

What are your building’s plan for staffing needs? This is a question that should’ve been addressed early but now is a good time to review!

  • How many temps have been hired, and what sort of tasks are they handling?
  • Is there an incentive plan that pays bonuses for workers who excel during peak? If so, how has it impacted worker engagement thus far?
  • Is your building’s staffing plan calculated to meet your service goals (orders/boxes per hour per employee, lines picked per hour per picker, etc)?. How closely are those goals being hit?

Winter is coming…

The holidays not only bring cheer and a spike in products traveling through supply chains, but also bad weather (if you are in North America). Even if you are located in an area where snow won’t affect your distribution centre directly, it doesn’t mean that your vendors, carriers, and customers will be safe from it.

  • Does your building have a well-documented emergency plan in case of power outages?
  • Does your staff understand the expedited transportation options available such as time-definite ocean transportation, air-sea, sea-air, and team-driver trucking service?
  • Has your building tested Plan B carriers to see if there are any issues in utilizing them if your preferred carriers become indisposed during peak time?

Getting those evaluation sheets ready

No matter how well prepared and laid-out the plans for your distribution centre are, chances are there will be some area in which those plans fall short. It could be due to vendor mismanagement of inventory leading to out-of-stock of a hot item. Or underestimating the amount of returns and not having the staff post-holiday. Regardless of the shortfalls, it is important to have a system in place to track your performance and use labor statistics, order data, customer satisfaction scores, and inventory reporting to identify areas where you both shined and struck out.

This information will help you during future peak planning. Having an outside consultant come in and review the data with you post-peak. This help you think through necessary changes for next year’s peak season that you can begin working on as soon as the peak season has wrapped up.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

Radio frequency identification (RFID) has become one of the megatrends in logistics. It is surprising then that despite the hundreds of millions of RFID tags sold this year alone that, according to results from the 2014 GS1 US Standards Usage Survey, finally saw the technology living up to the hype in the logistics industry in the last few years.

Here are only a few ways that RFID technology has changed, and is continuing to change the not only the way we think about logistics, but also how interact with the world around us. Check out the infographic below for all the facts!

9 Facts About RFID Technology in Logistics


That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!