Heightened customer expectations are driving technology investments to improve fulfillment accuracy, reduce out-of-stock situations and shorten delivery times.

Zebra Technologies, a global leader in solutions and services that provide real-time visibility into organisations’ assets, people and transactions, have announced the results of its latest Warehouse Vision Study, which compares input from 1,378 IT and operations warehouse professionals on expectations in 2015 versus 2020. Consumer expectations will drive increased investment in IT and operational functions in warehouses over the next four years as manufacturing and logistics companies continue to adjust to delivering directly to consumers.

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  • More than 40% of respondents cited shorter delivery times as a key measure requiring warehouse investment. Also indicative of increased consumer demand is the expected increase by 76% of those surveyed in the number of warehouse locations and volume of items shipped out of warehouses.
  • Half of the surveyed IT and operations decision makers planned to move to a more modern, full-featured warehouse management system last year while 75% of them plan this in 2020 to help manage the increased locations and items shipped.
  • 51% of those surveyed expected increased investment in real-time location systems that track inventory and assets throughout the warehouse last year, but this number escalates to 76% of respondents in 2020.
  • Executives anticipate an increase in inbound items that will be bar coded in the next five years, from 66% of survey respondents in 2015 to 82% in 2020.
  • By 2020, respondents cited plans to make investments in the following processes and tools: increasing volume of items shipped (76%), equipping staff with technology (73%), bar code scanning (68%), tablets (66%) and Internet of Things (62%).
  • The October 2015 survey was completed by 1,378 IT and warehouse professionals in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.