The need for warehouse automation skyrockets as staffing issues and e-commerce demands grow

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Staffing issues are driving warehouse automation needs, according to 81% of businesses within the manufacturing, 3PL and retail industries.


According to the ‘Robotics and Automation report’ from global supply chain and logistics consultancy SCALA, over half of businesses are planning to invest in warehouse innovations to overcome labour shortages and rising e-commerce demands.


Individual case or item picking systems top the list of what organisations’ want to implement in the future with 59% of respondents deeming them as important and 19% considering them highly important.


Full pallet putaway and retrieval automation also scored highly with 60% ranking them as important for the future to cope with high consumer demand.


John Perry, managing director at SCALA, said: “With no end in sight for the skills shortages across the industry, it’s perhaps not surprising that concerns over staff availability topped the list. The ongoing shortages are being exacerbated by rising e-commerce sales, with sales projected to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025.”


“If manufacturers, retailers and 3PLs are to cope with the increasing demands of e-commerce, these ambitions to introduce automation need to be actioned with urgency.

Whether you’re a retailer trying to compete with delivery lead times, handle exceptional peak volumes effectively, or manage large volumes of online returns, having a smooth logistics process is a corporate priority.


“This means partly removing the reliance on human labour in warehousing. Robotic and automated systems should be introduced for time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks, such as item picking and transporting around the warehouse.”