Call for modernization of IT infrastructure in warehouse operations

warehouse operations

A whopping 97% of supply chain professionals believe that the IT infrastructure of their warehouse operations is in need of modernization. This is according to the Manhattan Associates ‘2024 State of Warehouse Operations’ report. The survey asked 2,000 supply chain professionals in the Netherlands and Belgium about the current challenges and key opportunities for the sector.

In the survey, 84% of the respondents also said they were having problems retaining staff. 73% also noted that the volume of goods entering and leaving warehouses had increased over the past 12 months, exacerbating the problems they were already facing.

Supply chain professionals are still hopeful about the future, however. They expect generative AI (75%) and robotics (72%) to positively improve work tasks and satisfaction, for example, by reducing manual operations, streamlining workflows and reducing paperwork.

As organizations look for ways to simplify their operations, meet increased demand and improve staff experiences, continuous supply chain innovation is needed to address emerging risks while taking full advantage of new opportunities, according to the survey.

Warehouse operations are increasingly challenging

As warehouse operations become increasingly challenging, it is essential to ensure that employees feel heard, engaged and valued, according to the report. Many respondents felt that staff-related challenges, including recruiting/training employees for the short term (41%) and ensuring productivity (40%), have increased sharply over the past 12 months.

In addition, 28% of surveyed respondents stressed that obsolete IT hardware and software is the most pressing challenge they currently face. This creates a significant fiscal and technological obstacle for almost one in three companies surveyed.

Furthermore, 26% of respondents reported difficulty managing orders across channels. 23% said they find it difficult to meet higher customer expectations regarding lead times.

Crucial to competitiveness

‘Warehouses are the heart of a unified supply chain and the centre of the fulfilment universe. Addressing the challenges highlighted in the report is crucial for companies’ long-term competitiveness and success,’ said Henri Seroux, Senior Vice President EMEA at Manhattan Associates.

‘The findings underline the importance of looking ahead and continuing to integrate new technologies to future-proof supply chains. Ultimately, a more unified supply chain strategy ensures efficiency. Which in turn ensures sustainability, both economically and environmentally. And that is good for the profit and loss account as well as the planet,’ Seroux added.