Over the last decade, traffic terminals have been actively evolving, especially as part of distributor networks. In the first half of 2022, warehouse capacity in Poland will reach 25 mln m², up from 2.14 mln m² in 2012. But the e-commerce boom caused by the pandemic has changed the way goods are distributed and processed. Operations in specialized warehouses have been reorganized to enable more efficient picking and packing.
Ten years ago, most logistics operations were related to delivering goods to stores or other distribution points and covered only the B2B market. With the recent rise of e-commerce, the structures of traditional trade and supply chains have changed. Logistics providers have begun to process significant volumes of small B2C orders. Warehouse layouts, processes, and technologies, and labor markets have all evolved in turn. Some warehouses have become mega-distribution centers processing thousands of parcels per day.
"New technologies have quickly changed the way warehouses operate. The key innovations mainly relate to robotization and process automation. Pick-by-voice systems, light and LED-based pick-by-light systems, pick-by-vision systems using augmented reality technology have all improved picking efficiency. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has reduced warehouse operation times and eliminated most errors. Drones have fundamentally changed the way parcels are delivered in e-commerce, and the IT systems of logistics providers and customers have been integrated," shares Robert Szymanczak, AsstrA Warehouse Manager in Błonie.
New technologies also mean new challenges. To meet the growing expectations of logistics customers and end consumers, e-commerce service providers must respond quickly to errors that arise. Inventory management is a fundamental function of a Warehouse Management System (WMS). However, in the case of e-commerce, product information and order status updates should be accessible in real time with pinpoint accuracy.
In order to provide reliable and flexible storage processes, warehouses should have properly arranged space, i.e. with high storage areas and mezzanines to increase capacity and the types of supported Stock Keeping Units (SKUs).
"Modern e-commerce warehousing services are supplemented by the use of SMS messaging, email, or mobile applications. We should also keep in mind the logistics of returns. In addition to careful order monitoring, a separate area in the zone for receiving goods should be set aside for return handling processes. Ongoing analysis helps identify and ultimately minimize the causes of returns," emphasizes Robert Szymanczak.
The AsstrA warehouse in Błonie, Poland, provides a wide range of basic services such as storage, cross-docking, and picking for general cargo, as well as additional services like labeling, packaging, and co-packing. The storage area is fully equipped to meet the needs of customers operating in today’s e-commerce industry.
Author: Kamila Rynkiewicz.