2021 was a challenging year for the warehousing and logistics industry. A huge increase in demand combined with supply chain disruption caused uncertainty and posed new challenges. However, there were also a host of new opportunities driven by advancing technologies and changing consumer behaviours.
Following on from such a demanding year, 2022 will not be without challenges. But by building on the opportunities of last year, it is set to be an exciting time of change for this fast-paced industry.
So, what does 2022 have in store for the warehousing and logistics industry? Here are our predictions.
Across all sectors, businesses and consumers are increasingly committing to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. And this will continue to impact all aspects of the supply chain.
As a result, businesses will be looking to implement more sustainable warehouse management techniques, such as:
- Investing in energy-efficient equipment
- Using less packaging
- Better insulating the warehouse space
From a logistics perspective, we’re likely to see measures such as:
- Electric and alternative fuel vehicles
- Choosing renewable energy sources
- Investing in software to manage the carbon footprint
Micro warehouses are predicted to become a key industry trend this year, providing more efficient last-mile logistics with the capacity to meet an ever-increasing demand for same day and next day deliveries. This goes hand-in-hand with more businesses going online, including essential brands and supermarkets offering small to-your-door shops.
Ideal for consumer goods that require minimal special handling, these small warehouse spaces are used specifically to get inventory closer to customers, especially in highly populated, inner-city areas. With many of the UK’s population living in urban areas, using micro fulfilment facilities will help better serve the customer and remove some pressure from the rest of the supply chain.
Automation and AI
Automation, AI and robotics are increasingly being used in the warehouse and logistics industry and they are expected to become a core focus in 2022.
It is expected that AI and machine learning will be increasingly used to support data analysis and decision-making while boosting efficiency and productivity. In terms of robotics, there is predicted to be a move away from fixed automation systems to smaller, mobile robots, driverless vehicles, and machine vision systems.
The increased use of robotics will help improve productivity in the industry, eliminating repetitive, labour-intensive tasks so that human employees can focus on higher-value roles.
The rise of 3PL and 4PL
In 2021, the eCommerce sector experienced incredible growth, leading to an increased demand for Third-Party Logistics (3PL) – outsourcing transportation and logistics – and Fourth Party Logistics (4PL) – outsourcing the management of logistics and execution of the supply chain.
3PL and 4PL offer a number of benefits, including being more cost-effective, efficient, scalability, faster, and more responsive. As a result, their popularity is expected to increase further still this year.
Blockchain is a method used for storing and transferring data, allowing the record of the transaction to be maintained across several interlinked computers. In 2022, blockchain technology will become more widely used to record transactions, track assets, and manage documents.
The nature of warehousing and logistics means that there are multiple stakeholders involved in any transaction. By using blockchain, providers will be able to integrate all of the data into a single platform, enhancing visibility, allowing customers to access updates, and identifying problems before they occur.
Embracing cloud-based technologies will help reduce IT infrastructure and maintenance costs while improving speed and performance. Cloud technologies in warehousing and logistics also help to eliminate the data silos that exist in many warehouse and logistics operations as well as improve access for all the workforce.
As a result, more businesses will turn to cloud-based warehouse management systems which give employees all the information they need, when they need it, whilst also saving costs and proving more flexibility.
How we can help
At Optima Warehouse Solutions, we’re here to support you as we continue into 2022. We can offer cost-effective, cloud-based warehouse management solutions for all types of businesses. If you have any questions or to discuss your needs further, please get in touch with a member of our team today.