Trucking and warehousing are industries inextricably linked within the freight business, as trucking hauls the goods that warehouses stores.
So Motorola’s recent survey of warehouse information technology (IT) and operational professionals in the logistics, manufacturing, retail and wholesale market segments who work for firms that have at least $15 million in annual revenues coughed up some trend markers that truckers should think about.
First, those warehouse IT and operations decision-makers cited a growing need to increase worker productivity plus automate and streamline processes – but not just to cut costs.
Indeed, the pace of supply chain re-evaluation and optimization is quickening as nearly two-thirds (67%) of those polled by Motorola claimed that they are either constantly or annually re-evaluating their supply chain networks – and, in many cases, that means expanding their warehouse operations in order to take advantage of “market opportunities,” they claimed.
Here are some takeaways trucking should think on. According to Motorola’s poll, the most commonly cited reasons for the expansion of storage and distribution networks include a mix of cost-savings and revenue-growth initiatives such as:
I would think the twin goals of lowering transportation costs while shrinking delivery times can only mean shortening up truck routes – and whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on the carrier.
Here are some other trends worth watching:
The upshot of all of this, according to Mark Wheeler, director of warehouse solutions for Motorola, is that warehousing is no longer being seen as an “afterthought” or “necessary evil” for businesses – indeed, much like trucking, it’s increasingly seen as a vital component capable of helping (or hurting) the bottom line.
“Warehousing and distribution have not traditionally been the most celebrated functions within leading businesses across manufacturing, retail and wholesale industries,” he said.
“But this survey revealed that these functions are playing a more important role as businesses in these industries face new pressures to cut costs to enhance profitability and free up capital as well as drive competitive differentiation and business growth,” Wheeler noted.
Thus it will be worth keeping an eye on warehousing trends to see how they’ll affect trucking down the road.