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One-third of US warehouses do not have a management system – is Asia heading down a similar path?

One-third of US warehouses do not have a management system – is Asia heading down a similar path?


At the rapid rate technology is improving, it might be high time to consider implementing a warehouse management system (WMS), if you have yet to do so, cautioned a report by trade and finance media outlet Global Trade Mag (GTM).

According to a survey done by the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) of 549 industry professionals, one-third of facilities in the US have yet to implement a warehouse management system amid adoption of conveyors, carousels and advanced shipping notification declining over the last ten years.

Although progress in incorporating digital technologies within warehousing has been made since 2008, that progress has been slow. In the report, WERC warns that the lack of a WMS could spell trouble for companies planning to implement more advanced technologies as the absence of a baseline WMS means adding emerging technologies can prove futile.

In many cases, American warehouses are relying on manual systems such as Excel spreadsheets and/or standalone software to run individual warehouse functions, the WERC report found. That approach disregards technological trends like the internet of things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 revolution which rely on communications among systems and machines.

The WERC concluded with the prediction that warehouses will fall further and further behind if technology and implementation of it continues to grow at disparate rates.

Considering the vastly different rates at which cities in Asia and Southeast Asia are undergoing urbanisation, this worrying trend is food for thought.

Considering the US are front runners for innovation and R&D, their concern over the lack of implementation and statistics of non-users should be the next talking point for Asian nations.

“We wonder,” the report said, “how prepared warehousing and distribution are to step into their part in the digital supply chain.” Will this be the case for warehousing in APAC a few year down the road?