This is part one in a two-part series. You can read part two here.
When you think of a distribution warehouse, do you still imagine a dark, dirty, dusty place where people choose products using paper lists and pack them by hand before sending them out to the wider world?
If that’s what you imagine when you think of a warehouse and distribution center, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised at the state of modern product distribution. Third party logistics (3PL) companies and fulfillment services everywhere are taking advantage of the newest technologies out there, increasing their efficiency and the working environment for their employees. Ultimately, of course, all of progress and change benefits customers and their end-customers.
Why Improve Technology in the Warehouse?
Between more innovative ways of using older technology and new applications of consumer-focused electronics, fulfillment has really come a long way.
The simple reason for this increased eye on new tools is increased income. Although it costs a bit to invest in technology, increasing productive employee time and production speed makes money for 3PLs, there’s no question.
But, of course, the much more complicated reasons go well beyond just increasing the bottom line. This leads to improved customer satisfaction, increased trust in your fulfillment warehouse and, ultimately, lowered costs. In the end, better technology and smarter applications of it mean better experiences for everyone in the supply chain, so of course there’s every reason to embrace it. From giving our employees an easier way to meet their targets to decreasing your need for reverse logistics, technology investments mean efficiency and accuracy improvements.
What’s New in Fulfillment Technology?
Fulfillment technology is advancing by leaps and bounds these days. New applications for existing tools like Google Glass have been making headlines, but other advances are also marching us to the 3PL of the future. Technology and newly developed processes are working hand in hand to allow fulfillment experts to create even safer and more efficient warehouse environments.
Tools like Gladiator Guns and processes like Wave Picking (both of which we will discuss in part two of this post) can change the way that fulfillment works for modern business. As the pressure increases for everyone to deliver at the speed of Amazon, it’s vital to keep up with evolving technology so deliveries are increasingly quick and accurate. It’s what customers want, so it’s what all 3rd party fulfillment companies should focus on providing. The future of the 3PL warehouse is both exciting and ever-evolving!