Last Friday (July 13), Zebra Technologies Corporation, a company that makes handheld scanners, printers and other portable hardware, and develops the technology to tag things to be read by them, announced the results of the Asia-Pacific edition of the Future of Fulfilment Vision Study, a body of research analysing how manufacturers, transportation and logistics (T&L) firms, and retailers are preparing to meet the growing needs of the on-demand economy.
According to Yvonne Lim, Zebra Technologies’ Southeast Asia Channels Lead, many companies in Asia-Pacific feel that e-commerce is driving the need for faster delivery. This is supported by the findings from the study that state that 67% of logistics companies expect to provide same-day delivery by 2023 and 55% anticipate delivery within a two-hour window by 2028.
In addition, 96% of survey respondents expect to use crowdsourced delivery or a network of drivers that choose to complete a specific order by 2028.
Another key finding is that 92% of the respondents cited capital investment and operating costs of implementing an omnichannel operation as a key challenge. As such, only 42% of supply chain respondents reported operating at an omnichannel level today, however there is an estimated 73% of consumers shop across multiple channels.
Today, 55% of organisations are still using inefficient, manual pen-and-paper based processes to enable omnichannel logistics. However, Yvonne Lim mentions that “companies are turning to digital technology and analytics to bring heightened automation, merchandise visibility and business intelligence to the supply chain to compete in the on-demand consumer economy.”
According to the study, by 2021, handheld mobile computers with barcode scanners will be used by 99% of respondents for omnichannel logistics. The upgrade from manual pen-and-paper spreadsheets to handheld computers with barcode scanners or tablets will definitely improve omnichannel logistics as it provides more real-time access to warehouse management systems.
Another trend noticed in the study is that radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and inventory management platforms are growing. They are expected to grow from 32% today to 95% in 2028.
RFID-enabled software, hardware and tagging solutions, offer up-to-the-minute, item-level inventory lookup, heightening inventory accuracy and shopper satisfaction while reducing out of stocks, overstocks and replenishment errors.
As such, Zebra has introduced a new mobile printer and RFID solution that will help drive better efficiencies both on and off-premise. The new ZQ300 Series mobile printers empower workers in the field, in the warehouse or on the retail floor with on-demand printing capabilities. Meanwhile, the FX9600 fixed UHF RFID readers will enable enterprises to keep up with high volumes of cargo movements in the warehouse or dock doors.
According to the press release, future-oriented decision makers revealed that next generation supply chains will reflect connected, business-intelligence and automated solutions that will add newfound speed, precision and cost effectiveness to transportation and labor.
Surveyed executives expect the most disruptive technologies to be drones, driverless/autonomous vehicles, wearable and mobile technology, and robotics.