Perhaps it's easy enough to put warehousing at the back of your mind: you put stuff there, you take it out again later, simple. Or is it?

With almost three quarters of industrial decision makers in the Asia Pacific saying that they're planning to increase their investments into warehousing technology, it's almost certainly not that simple.

In Zebra Technologie's latest Warehouse Vision Study, 74% of respondents said they were going to accelerate their warehousing tech by 2020, amping up their logistical capabilities.

The survey compares input from over 1,000 IT and operations warehouse professionals from retail, manufacturing, logistics, transportation, and wholesale distribution sectors across countries – including Australia and New Zealand.

The primary driver for warehouse investment appears to be local enterprises' expectations of growing online sales, which lead into an increased demand for warehousing capacity and efficiency. Surveyed warehouse executives say they plan on equipping staff with new technologies to meet the needs of increasing shipment volumes.

These technological investments are largely where you'd expect them to be: barcode scanning technologies, tablet computers, big data/data analytics , and warehouse/truck loading automation, all tied into the Industrial Internet of Things.

Half of the respondents say warehouse investments are mainly driven by the need to reduce transportation costs, while 41% demand shorter delivery times, and 38% see the need to accommodate new supplier and trading partner locations.

Currently, 81% of respondents are using legacy warehouse management software (WMS), and this number is projected to drop by half from 81% to 40% in 2020. By contrast, full-featured WMS and real-time location system (RTLS) will grow its usage by an average of 29% in five years.

Ryan Goh, ‎Vice President at Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific, says that “with the surge of e-commerce activities in Asia Pacific in recent years, led by China and India, the region has become the ‘warehouse of the world’."

"IT and operations decision makers in warehouses and distribution centers consistently need to identify new ways to improve productivity and reduce costs to stay competitive. Zebra provides the exact technologies, products, and solutions that offer increased operational visibility to address the challenges faced by our customers."

According to Wayne Harper, Senior Technical Director of Zebra Technologies, “there will be a major shift in this space, with 74% of respondents planning to outfit their warehouse staff with technology, and only 24% said they expect to continue using pen and paper in 2020."

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