space will outpace supply despite the introduction of new facilities. The UKWA also cites competition for land as a cause for concern as Local Authorities struggle to balance the needs of a land hungry logistics sector with government ambitions to build new homes.

With warehouse space at such a premium, one of the biggest challenges for operators over the next couple of years will be how to best utilise the space they have. When changes in the sector are so fluid and impact immediately, flexibility and adaptability will be key to ensuring success.

4. Redundant Processes – time to wave goodbye to paper for good

The process of products being handled multiple times and unnecessarily still lingers within a number of warehouses. Most commonly this occurs when paper-based picking tickets pass through several hands. You may think that this presents a challenge for only a handful of companies, but you’d be mistaken. In fact, it might surprise you to learn that 55% of organisations use pen and paper to manage multi-channel logistics.

While necessary in some instances, such redundant procedures are time-consuming and increase the cost of labour. In many cases it’s difficult to see the direct cost but organisations that have implemented barcode systems soon see the impact on their bottom line. Elimination of paper-based processes can also have a positive impact on the accuracy of inventory and


55% of organisations use pen and paper to manage multi-channel logistics (Zebra, 2018)

(Honeywell 2016) 5. Adapting to Industry 4.0

While at one end of the scale we see companies taking the first step to eradicating paper-based processes from the supply chain, at the other end the challenge presented a new generation of technological advancement that awaits in the form of Industry 4.0.

In this next industrial revolution, we expect to witness huge disruption as companies explore how to leverage data and machine learning to create autonomous systems. This marriage of physical and digital systems will be a tough nut to crack but will pave the way for the future of the smart warehouse.

With the ability to respond to customer needs far more quickly than is possible today, Industry 4.0 will improve the flexibility, speed, productivity, and quality of the production process. Furthermore, technologies such as sensors, augmented reality, wearables, Internet of Things (IoT), analytics and computer vision, all inherent in Industry 4.0, will enhance existing automation systems. The biggest challenge will be where to start.


Originally established as an Italian deli and small family restaurant, Santa Cruz Pasta has grown into a specialist manufacturer specialising in organic fresh pasta and sauces selling to a range of grocery stores including Whole Foods. As the operation grew, Santa Cruz Pasta quickly found that its inefficient paper-based processes were costing time and money.

Each week, drivers made deliveries to grocery stores taking in-store inventory and creating invoice by hand. Because each store had its own unique order of the company’s 26 product lines (all at varying prices), the manual process was causing drivers to spend nearly 40 minutes at each location. Additionally, manual invoicing was causing increased errors, costing the company hundreds of dollars each month.

By pairing handheld computers with mobile printers, the company obtained a simple yet effective solution to their challenge. Drivers were able to scan product barcodes to record inventory and capture sales-related activity, resulting in the immediate generation of invoices that could be printed for the customer on site and automatically synced with the company’s accounting system.

Since migrating away from redundant paper-based processes, the time each driver spends on site has been halved from 40 minutes or more to 20 minutes. These savings have allowed drivers to stop at three to four more locations per day, enabling Santa Cruz Pasta to grow their business even further without adding an additional driver and van.


can help to significantly improve cash flow.

As demand increases for online shopping, the removal of any and all redundant processes will surely become mission critical.

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