Innovation never stops, even in warehousing, logistics and storage. As 2019 begins, we are looking forward to a number of trends we predict will make a splash in New Zealand warehouses and internationally. Some of these trends are high-tech – and may take some time before they trickle into New Zealand, whereas others are directly impacting our warehouses right now.
So, check out our take on the warehousing, logistics and storage trends of 2019 below.
Continued focus on safety in NZ workplaces
The New Zealand government continues to set important goals when it comes to health and safety at work. A clear 10 year strategy was recently laid out by the central government, with the aim of improving health and safety at work across New Zealand.
Key areas of focus include worker engagement and representation. For warehouse managers, that means listening to your workers and keeping their interests noted. Likewise, the government notes that Maori workers, young workers and migrant workers are at a greater risk. Engaging vulnerable groups of workers in your business through regular and down-to-earth chats about health and safety, and making communications simple and easy to follow are easy ways to keep these groups of workers safe.
From a warehouse operator perspective, a fresh new year can mean a great chance to review your safety strategy. This may mean updating your warehouse equipment, having the appropriate dangerous goods storage, and making sure your safety barriers, floor safety tape, and signage are in good condition.
Truck driving automation and autonomous mobile robotics are on the horizon for warehouses internationally this year.
Amazon already has over 100,000 robots working inside their warehouses worldwide, to improve and enhance human efficiencies. Of course, as one of the biggest international e-commerce websites, they are uniquely placed to embrace and encourage efficiency improvements in their warehouses.
Likewise, with trucks, there is an acceleration in automation technologies being developed. For example, with Volvo Trucks, we are seeing increased real-world experimentation with automation – both for operations on internal operations but also real-world driving. This includes full-scale self-driving technology, but also smaller automation for safety purposes like collision warnings and automatic emergency brakes.
We don’t expect fleets to be upgraded or robots to steal all the jobs overnight! However, as this technology trickles down, more and more businesses will opt to take the plunge and invest in automation for safety and economic reasons.
The future is here. We know that, in terms of logistics, up to 50 per cent of the cost of delivery happens in the last leg. Drone delivery, while still considered a sci-fi fantasy by many, is quickly making its mark in unexpected ways.
Drone delivery can help in two key aspects – delivery cost and delivery time. While your courier or local delivery service exists at the whims of traffic, which can get particularly bad in urban centres (we’re looking at you, Auckland and Wellington), actual delivery access remains a key issue in rural areas.
Likewise, we expect delivery cost to drop with drones. While the technology is currently still in its infancy within the country, drones can operate without a driver, bringing the labour cost associated with delivery down.
Good old-fashioned human labour
With all the talk of robotics, human labour still remains the key tool we use in our warehouses in New Zealand. This is unlikely to change soon, and indeed, several key industries face key labour shortages. From almost every role in construction, through to truck drivers and project management, New Zealand is facing a critical skill shortage.
This means when it comes to work in your warehouse, you can guarantee that people will remain at the centre of activity. From driving the trucks and forklifts, through to managing orders, people remain to be one of the biggest assets in warehouses. That being said, staff need to be regularly upskilled and trained further to keep up with the industry’s current demands.
Dexters – New Zealand’s leading warehouse equipment supplier
At Dexters NZ we are uniquely placed to see industry trends. Having been involved in in warehousing for over 20 years, we have seen our industry revolutionised by the advent of digital technology, and we anticipate future changes brought about by innovations in robotics and automation.
And for everything warehousing, turn to Dexters. If you are ready to take on world-leading advice on how to improve your workplace efficiency and bring it up to health and safety best-practice, contact us today.