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2023 Predictions & Forecasts: Five challenges for warehouse management, according to AutoStore

AutoStore has launched a new benchmark report with insights from more than 300 C-level business leaders in warehouse management and fulfillment.

Survey participants identified the top three current challenges facing organizations as: rising energy costs (32 percent), increasing labor costs (27 percent), and supply chain and shipping constraints (26 percent).

Ellen Brune, head of global strategic accounts at AutoStore, says: “There is a need to operate more efficiently, which is perhaps why nearly nine in 10 organizations either have, or are planning to install, automation technology in their warehouse in 2023.

“The intention to meet a challenging macro environment with a technology uptake is good news for customers who want their products quickly.”

AutoStore surveyed executives from North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific for the report. European respondents (44 percent) cited energy costs as a top challenge, compared to North American and Asia Pacific respondents (24 percent).

Conversely, rising labor costs are more of a concern in APAC (34 percent) and North America (27 percent), compared to Europe (22 percent).

Efficiency-enhancing technology

According to the industry business leaders, the most important focus areas for 2023 are improving customer satisfaction levels (34 percent), investing in automation technology (31 percent), sustainable solutions (31 percent), greater workforce efficiency (31 percent), and delivering goods-to-person faster (30 percent).

A large majority of respondents (88 percent) shared that they will implement an automated storage and retrieval system by 2024.

Thirty-two percent have some sort of automation technology in place already and 56 percent are making plans to deploy it in the next 12 months.

Marcus Mogéus, chief marketing officer at AutoStore, says: “Automation technology has shifted to where it is no longer a ‘nice to have’ in the warehouse, but an absolute must have.

“This report shows that the investment plan for companies when it comes to automation technology has increased dramatically from previous reports.”

Push for space efficiency

The report shows that approximately one in three industry business leaders cite sustainability as a key priority for 2023. Energy efficiency (55 percent), reducing waste (46 percent), employee well-being (43 percent), reducing storage footprint (39 percent), and recycling (36 percent) were the most important initiatives.

Conversely, when asked what brands are looking for from AS/RS (automated storage and retrieval systems) providers, sustainability decreased in priority (13 percent).

In comparison, respondents cited reliability (24 percent), simplicity (22 percent), and space utilization (20 percent) as more important attributes.

In fact, 43 percent said space saving/utilization will be mission critical to their business and 49 percent cited it as a very important business priority.

Brune says: “Space is critically important for organizations. We help businesses reduce costs, become more efficient, and deliver a complete ROI in one to three years, while reducing a warehouse footprint by 75 percent when compared to conventional storage.

“Optimizing space closely aligns with the challenge of rising costs.”

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