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How warehouses are deploying RFID

Warehouses are increasingly implementing RFID solutions.

Warehouse decision makers are increasingly implementing RFID solutions.

More than half (58%) of surveyed global warehouse decision-makers plan to deploy radio frequency identification (RFID) technology by 2028 in an effort to increase inventory visibility and reduce out-of-stocks, according to the “2023 Global Warehousing Study” from Zebra Technologies Corp. The figure includes respondents planning to deploy fixed, passive or handheld RFID readers and fixed industrial scanning solutions that can track assets, workers and goods throughout the warehouse environment.

The survey also showed that 73% of all respondents have or will be accelerating timelines of warehouse modernization projects, while 76% say they are under pressure to improve performance while adjusting to shifting consumer e-commerce demands and nearly 80% say inaccurate inventory and out-of-stocks continue to significantly challenge productivity.

Nine in 10 (91%) respondents plans to invest in technology to increase visibility across the supply chain by 2028, and seven in 10 (69%) already have or are planning to automate workflows by 2024 to support warehouse associates and shift them toward more customer-centric, high-value tasks.

Over half of respondents believe automation increases worker efficiency and productivity by reducing manual picking, order errors and cycle time. And almost nine in 10 (88%) say adding warehouse technologies, including devices and robotics, attract and retain employees during labor shortages.

Six in 10 (59%) respondents plan to implement predictive analytics solutions in their facilities by 2028, while 52% plan to roll out machine learning technology.

Sustainability is important

The survey also asked respondents about sustainability-related warehouse issues. Findings included:

  • 80% say it’s important their warehouse technology solutions maximize battery life.
  •  77% say they are focused on reducing emissions and waste.
  • Other sustainable elements respondents prioritize today include ensuring accurate mobile device swap-out time, connecting to energy monitoring software to maximize efficiency, offering buy-back and certified refurbishment/circular economy programs, and the use of reusable and recyclable materials. Beyond their own operations,

“The significant growth of returns aligns with e-fulfillment growth over the last several years, and it is a mandate for change across every part of the supply chain,” said Andre Luecht, global strategy lead for transportation, logistics and warehouse, Zebra Technologies. “This means warehouse leaders must modernize their operations with technology solutions to handle returns and increase agility, inventory visibility and demand forecasting in order to improve efficiency and make better decisions in real time.”

[Read more: Four reasons to consider a holistic retail tagging strategy]

Zebra’s Warehousing Vision Study was conducted in March and April 2023 by third-party research firm Azure Knowledge Corporation. It includes feedback from over 1,400 decision-makers and associates that manage and maintain warehouse or distribution center operations in manufacturing, retail, transportation, logistics and wholesale distribution across North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

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