Navigating the Evolving Landscape of New Age Warehousing

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Navigating the Evolving Landscape of New Age Warehousing

For businesses globally, adapting to the swift advancements in technology is challenging, necessitating thorough evaluation before committing to substantial investments. This is especially true for warehouse operators who, in order to ensure faster fulfilment needs, intensify their efforts to advance innovations for more efficient supply chain management. These innovations are particularly focused on automation, better data management, and decarbonization, while also updating safety protocols and modernizing outdated facilities. This ensures that brands maintain a seamless and robust logistics flow. This shift is ably supported by strategic partnerships with integrated logistics providers who serve as reliable partners and support a fast flow – powered by innovation and digitalization – whilst keeping a strong thrust on sustainability and safety. This issue’s cover story explores a comprehensive approach to modern warehousing, bringing together industry leaders from user companies, service providers, and technology and consulting firms to establish best practices for future-proof warehousing. 

In today's fast changing retail landscape, in-person shopping and e-commerce coexist seamlessly, according to the customer’s preferences, mandating warehouses to service orders day and night, and keep up with delivery promises as short as ‘next hour’. Despite all these challenges, as customers’ demand rises, companies are currently looking for ways to build supply chains that can match the pace of their business, in a way that is automated, predictable, customized, and speedy!

As per Accenture report, the need for efficient warehouse operations has only grown with the rise of e-commerce and the need for greater resiliency from disruption in the end-to-end value chain. Warehouses play an important role in the relationship between companies and their customers, and inefficient operations can negatively impact customer satisfaction. Companies are turning to warehouse automation in response. The right level of automation and autonomy enables faster, safer, and more efficient day-to-day operations. It cuts costs and improves delivery times for a faster, leaner, and more scalable and sustainable operation.

Warehouse automation is driven by multiple factors including increased demand, operational complexities, and the necessity for modernization. The growing adoption of automated technologies and processes into warehouse operations reflects the growing maturity of warehouse automation. The report by A&M defines automation maturity between Level 0 to Level 4, with Level 0 as only manual operations and Level 4 as end-to-end automation.

Currently, warehouses in India have varying automation maturity levels, primarily falling within Levels 0 to 2. Level 3, characterized by island automation, remains relatively rare, underscoring the potential for increased automation adoption in India. The report predicts that approximately 80 percent of Indian warehouses will integrate some level of automation by 2030. It emphasizes the uniqueness of India warehouse automation journey, the importance of maintaining a balance between human and machine labor in Indian warehousing, and key considerations for organizations and solution providers navigating this evolving landscape.

As we move into the AI-powered future, backed by the surge in ecommerce and lessons learned in the pandemic, warehouses are no longer just massive storage centres. Instead, they are the vital components in smarter supply chains, hubs with greater potential for transparency, efficiency, and safety than ever before. They can also be testing grounds for AI robotics across industries, with the ability to work from more repetitive routines, in more tightly controlled environments. Whether driven by e-commerce, supply chain disruptions, or labor shortage, it’s a great time to embrace this opportunity: reducing waste, cutting costs, and improving efficiency across the board.

The key to successful warehouse automation is to be mindful of the expanding role of warehouses. Companies must transform their warehouses to deliver more impactful, longer-term value. With the right strategies, warehouses become more productive and efficient, drive customer-centric experiences and operate sustainably. Looking ahead as businesses explore ways to plan, here are the ways, as offered by industry experts, in which they can take care of their end-to-end warehousing, storage facilities, and inventory management to tackle challenges and fulfil their customers’ evolving needs.

Tracking the Decadal Warehousing Transformational Landscape

Warehousing has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade, evolving from a mere cost centre to a key player in enhancing customer satisfaction. This shift has been characterized by the transition from traditional “Godown” settings to state-of-the-art fulfilment centres and last-mile hubs or dark stores.

Nitin Joshi

Nitin Joshi, Head – Warehousing & Logistics, Fabindia Ltd.: Over the past decade, the warehousing landscape in India has undergone significant changes, transitioning from traditional godowns to large-scale multi-storey warehouses and logistics parks. This evolution has been fueled by several key factors:

  1. Implementation of GST: The introduction of GST has played a pivotal role in reshaping warehousing practices. By eliminating inter-state barriers, GST has spurred the consolidation of warehousing operations. Companies are now more inclined to establish larger warehouses at strategic locations to cater to multiple states, replacing the need for smaller warehouses in each state.
  2. E-commerce Expansion: Post Covid, the rapid expansion of e-commerce in India has created a demand for modern, high-capacity warehouses capable of handling the diverse range and volume of goods associated with online retail. This has led to the emergence of more sophisticated and organized warehousing facilities tailored to meet the needs of the e-commerce sector.
  3. Infrastructure Enhancements: Improvements in transportation infrastructure, including the development of roads, railways, and ports, have significantly enhanced connectivity between warehouses and major consumption centers. This enhanced connectivity has enabled companies to optimize their supply chain networks and streamline transit times, further driving the growth of larger, more strategically located warehouses.
Dr. Arunachalam R

Dr. Arunachalam R, MD & CEO, IBOB - India sub-brand of SF International, Board of Director - SF Logistics Pvt Ltd.: The shifts in the consumer behaviours and changes in the supply chain dynamics have driven significant change in the warehousing operations over a decade. The warehousing transformation has necessitated 3PL companies to offer value-added services beyond traditional storage and distribution. These may include inventory management, kitting and assembly, product customization, packaging design, reverse logistics and many more. The widespread adoption of Advanced WMS, Automation and Robotics in the warehouse are some of the most notable changes. The rapid growth of the e-commerce platform also contributes majorly to the warehouse transformation. Warehouses have adapted to support omni-channel distribution models, where customers expect seamless shopping experiences across online and offline channels. This has led to the need for flexible and agile warehousing solutions capable of handling both individual orders and bulk shipments. As the demand for more convenient and personalized delivery options increases, companies adopt hyperlocal logistics to provide fast and efficient services. The adoption of energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, and eco-friendly packaging materials, as well as implementing green practices such as waste reduction and recycling are the initiatives taken to reduce the environmental initiatives. Regulatory requirements, such as safety standards, labor laws, and trade regulations, have also influenced warehousing practices. Globalization also played a major role in increasing the complexity of supply chains, leading to larger and more distributed warehouse networks to support international trade and serve global markets efficiently.

Kamal Kishore Kumawat

Kamal Kishore Kumawat, Co-founder, Edgistify: Warehousing has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade, evolving from a mere cost centre to a key player in enhancing customer satisfaction. This shift has been characterized by the transition from traditional "Godown" settings to state-of-the-art fulfilment centres and last-mile hubs or dark stores. Such terminologies, once familiar only within B2B sectors, have now become commonplace, reflecting the widespread adoption of advanced warehousing concepts.

A decade ago, the e-commerce sector was just beginning to bloom, necessitating extensive modern infrastructure to meet the growing demands. Initially, delivery times ranged from 2 to 10 days, but today, companies often promise delivery times as short as 10 minutes or even the same day. This shift has been particularly noticeable in India, where consumers increasingly demand faster and more reliable service.

Several factors have been instrumental in driving these transformations:

  • Improved internet accessibility: (Reliance Jio played a pivotal role)Cheaper and more widespread internet access has increased consumer demands across various city tiers in India. As more consumers shop online, there is a greater need for robust warehousing solutions to serve these expanded markets. Companies need a wider network to fulfil demands across tier 2, and tier 3 cities.
  • E-commerce growth: As e-commerce has expanded, the need for warehouses to support faster and more efficient delivery methods has become critical. This growth has pushed warehouses to evolve from basic storage facilities to complex fulfilment centres that manage inventory and order processing efficiently.
  • Technology adoption: Advances in technology have played a crucial role. The integration of warehouse management systems (WMS), automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence has greatly enhanced operational efficiencies, allowing for faster processing and reduced errors.
Asim Behera

Asim Behera, President, Daifuku Intralogistics India Pvt. Ltd.: Over the past decade, warehousing has undergone a profound transformation driven by a convergence of advanced technologies and evolving market dynamics. Key trends include:

  • Automation Integration: Warehouses have embraced automation technologies such as Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), Sorting Transfer Vehicles (STVs), Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), collaborative robots (Cobots), and advanced conveying systems. These innovations optimize space utilization, streamline material flow, and enhance operational efficiency, leading to faster throughput and improved order accuracy. Additionally, advanced Warehouse Management System (WMS) software orchestrates these automated processes, ensuring seamless integration and real-time optimization of warehouse operations.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: The integration of IoT sensors and cloud computing has enabled real-time data capture and analysis, empowering warehouses to make data-driven decisions. Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms predict demand patterns, optimize inventory levels, and streamline supply chain processes, enhancing agility and responsiveness to changing market demands.
  • E-commerce Revolution: The exponential growth of e-commerce has reshaped warehouse operations to accommodate smaller, more frequent shipments and handle the complexities of omnichannel logistics.
  • Sustainability Initiatives: Environmental sustainability has emerged as a prominent consideration in warehousing operations. Companies are investing in eco-friendly practices such as energy-efficient lighting, renewable energy sources, and waste reduction measures to mitigate their carbon footprint and align with regulatory requirements and consumer preferences.
  • Workforce Augmentation: Augmented reality applications have gained traction in warehousing for training purposes, order picking, and maintenance tasks. These technologies provide workers with immersive guidance, visualization aids, and remote assistance, enhancing productivity, accuracy, and safety in warehouse operations.

These transformative trends underscore the industry's relentless pursuit of efficiency, adaptability, and customer-centricity. By leveraging automation, data analytics, and sustainable practices, warehouses are poised to thrive in an era defined by rapid technological advancement and evolving consumer expectations.

Challenges and opportunities waiting to be tapped

The major challenges that companies face in warehousing transformation are technology integration, skill-set requirement to operate & maintain the advanced systems, redesigning the warehousing and fullfilment centres due to changing clients’ needs & managing and securing the data while ensuring compliance with regulations.

Nitin Joshi: The transformation of the warehousing industry has facilitated the consolidation of 18 warehouses into two strategically located Distribution Centres (DC). With the centralization of operations in these larger DCs, there arose an opportunity to implement technology and automation solutions to manage the increased volumes efficiently. Technology and automation have emerged as essential tools in navigating the complexities of this transition and enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Furthermore, the development of Omni-Channel fulfillment capabilities required meticulous operational and infrastructure preparations tailored to the specific needs of each channel. This included enhancements in inventory management, fulfillment processes, and customer service standards, which have been instrumental in accommodating growth across all channels effectively.

However, challenges have emerged in balancing fulfillment Turnaround Times (TATs), as these times vary across different channels. Additionally, maintaining optimal inventory levels across multiple channels without excessive or insufficient stock poses a significant challenge, especially considering the diverse demand patterns observed in each channel.

Dr. Arunachalam R: A profound impact on the companies has been created by the changing economic conditions and changing customer behaviour. It has reshaped the operations, services, and business models. There has been an increased demand for advanced services and the 3PL companies must invest in new-age technologies to remain competitive and meet the growing demands of their clients. Modern warehousing technologies enable 3PL companies to adapt quickly to changing market dynamics and customer demands. Scalable solutions allow them to ramp up or down their operations as needed, accommodating fluctuations in inventory levels, seasonal peaks, or sudden shifts in demand. By diversifying the service offerings, 3PL companies have to add more value to their clients and generate additional revenue streams.

The major challenges that companies face in warehousing transformation are technology integration, skill-set requirement to operate & maintain the advanced systems, redesigning the warehousing and fulfilment centres due to changing clients’ needs & managing and securing the data while ensuring compliance with regulations. While on the other side, this transformation has resulted in faster order processing, reduced errors, lower operational costs, optimization of the processes, improved decision-making, and ultimately driving business growth. It also helps to quickly adapt to peak seasons or unexpected surges in orders without compromising on efficiency or quality by the advanced warehousing technologies.

Nirav Doshi 

Nirav Doshi, Managing Director, NIDO Group: The ongoing transformation in the warehousing sector presents both challenges and opportunities for our company. On the positive side, being innovators and problem solvers positions us favourably to capitalize on the evolving landscape. As the demand for efficient warehousing solutions grows, there's an opportunity for us to offer tailored solutions that facilitate smooth transitions for our customers, making them more adaptable to the dynamic nature of modern warehousing.

However, there are also challenges that come with this transformation. One major hurdle is the reluctance or hesitance from some customers to embrace new technologies and processes. This necessitates significant effort in educating and guiding them through the transition. Additionally, a shortage of skilled and experienced manpower in automation-related fields poses a challenge. This shortage means we must invest more time in training and handholding our team members to ensure they are equipped to meet the demands of the evolving industry.

Furthermore, the lack of exposure to best practices in automation adds another layer of complexity. We must actively seek out and implement industry-leading practices to deliver optimal solutions to our clients. Finding skilled team members with sufficient exposure to these practices can also be challenging, requiring us to invest in recruitment and training efforts to build a capable workforce.

Kamal Kishore Kumawat: This transformation in warehousing has primarily brought opportunities for our company. By aiding brands in fulfilling their promises of rapid delivery services—from 10-minute delivery to same-day or next-day delivery—we've become a dependable partner for handling their operations and providing the necessary technology stack. Currently, 90% of our customers can offer same-day and next-day delivery across India, which highlights our effectiveness in supporting their logistics needs.

Moreover, we've played a significant role in reducing supply chain costs for our clients. By designing optimized networks and directly managing their operations, we've demonstrated substantial cost efficiencies. This not only strengthens our position in the market but also provides our clients with competitive advantages in terms of operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.


  • Customer expectations: With the industry standards rising, meeting the ever-increasing customer expectations for faster and more reliable deliveries can be demanding. Also for us, the service is not an issue but cost becomes a roadblock.


  • Technology-driven solutions: Innovating in technology solutions for warehousing can open up new service offerings and improve operational efficiencies.
  • Sustainability practices: There's a growing trend towards sustainable practices in logistics. Implementing green logistics and sustainable warehousing can not only reduce costs but also appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.

Asim Behera: The transformation within the warehousing industry, particularly driven by advanced technologies, has significantly impacted Daifuku Intralogistics India, a subsidiary of the globally renowned Daifuku Co., Ltd. With a legacy dating back to 1937, Daifuku has established itself as a pioneer in intralogistics solutions, renowned for innovation, technological prowess, and a century-long commitment to excellence. Through strategic acquisitions and the integration of Japanese technological prowess with local manufacturing capabilities, Daifuku has emerged as a leader in India's material handling solutions sector. Through challenges, Daifuku Intralogistics India sees a path of opportunity.


  • Rapid Tech Evolution: Keeping pace with automation advancements requires continuous R&D investment to maintain quality and lead the curve.
  • Intensified Competition: Standing out in a crowded automation market necessitates strategic differentiation and proactive engagement.


  • Local Manufacturing & After-Sales Support: Establishing a local presence strengthens customer proximity and responsiveness, fostering long-term partnerships.
  • Industry Expansion: Daifuku's diverse solutions open doors to new markets (FMCG, food & beverage, automotive, pharma etc.) through proven cross-sector application.
  • Enhanced After-Sales Support: Prioritizing excellent after-sales service (maintenance, upgrades, training) builds long-term customer relationships and ensures solution success.
  • Customer-Centric Innovation: By tailoring solutions to evolving client needs through collaboration, Daifuku can drive operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Role of consulting companies in the evolution of warehousing

Consulting firms dive deep into existing operations to pinpoint and fix inefficiencies. This could mean rethinking how tasks are carried out, enhancing inventory management, or optimizing labour allocation to boost productivity and reduce mistakes.

Deepak Jain, Director, Argon & Co.: Argon & Co serves as a strategic partner for businesses seeking to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their warehousing operations. Drawing upon our wealth of experience, industry knowledge, and analytical capabilities, we help clients navigate complex challenges and capitalize on opportunities for improvement. Our goal extends beyond addressing current issues; we aim to equip businesses for future growth and expansion.

Here’s how we make a difference:

  1. Strategic design and layout: Argon & Co ensures that warehouses are laid out to maximize efficiency, emphasizing the best use of space, streamlined material flow, and operations can easily adapt to future business changes.
  2. Technology solutions: In an age where technology defines capabilities, Argon & Co guides the selection and integration of advanced systems, such as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), creating a unified ecosystem that enhances visibility, accuracy, and decision-making.
  3. Process optimization: We dive deep into existing operations to pinpoint and fix inefficiencies. This could mean rethinking how tasks are carried out, enhancing inventory management, or optimizing labour allocation to boost productivity and reduce mistakes.
  4. Change support: Adopting new processes or technologies can be challenging. Through training and change management, we ensure teams are prepared and capable of embracing new processes.
  5. Staying ahead: By keeping an eye on future trends and tech, from IoT to blockchain, we provide guidance on how to incorporate these into operations, ensuring competitiveness and staying at the forefront.

Argon & Co specializes in enhancing warehousing operations across diverse projects, addressing unique challenges with customized solutions. Here are some examples:

Fashion retailer National Distribution Center: One of our landmark projects, involved designing a 650,000-square-foot facility, expandable to 1 million square feet, with a focus on efficiency and sustainability. Our role encompassed concept design, storage optimization, technology implementation, change management, and operational readiness. This LEED Platinum-certified facility with many first-time technologies in India, upon launch, shipped up to 50,000 pieces daily and has the capacity to handle shipments of up to twenty-five million pieces in the future, showcasing our commitment to innovation.

Tyre Company Warehouse Optimization: For a leading Indian tyre manufacturer, we developed a vertical racking system to maximize space utilization and minimize product damage. Our solution, featuring specially designed pallets and stillages, facilitated future expansion.

International Retailer Distribution Center Efficiency: We enhanced the efficiency of a global retailer's distribution center by reducing manual labor and optimizing space usage. Despite the limitations of a brownfield operation and challenges such as integrating new technologies with legacy systems, our strategy involved a comprehensive assessment to minimise operational disruption. We introduced advanced solutions like multi-tier shelving and a put-to-light system. This approach significantly improved operational throughput and reduced storage space and labor demands.

Evolution of warehousing processes and the solutions being offered

In recent years, warehousing processes have evolved significantly, primarily driven by changes in the product mix handled and the increasingly complex fulfillment needs of customers. While the fundamental processes remain the same, several key areas have undergone notable transformations.

Dr. Arunachalam R: The Warehousing processes have seen a drastic revolution in the last few years in terms of automation, real-time collaboration, Data analytics and seamless integration. Warehouses are increasingly adopting automation technologies such as robotic picking systems, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), and conveyor systems. The smart warehousing systems improve safety, optimize space utilization & stock levels, reduce errors, streamline process and reduce labour costs. To meet the growing demand for faster delivery, warehouses are adopting cross-docking and just-in-time delivery strategies. These approaches minimize storage time by transferring goods directly from inbound to outbound vehicles, reducing handling costs and speeding up order fulfillment. Implementing predictive maintenance programs using IoT sensors and data analytics helps warehouses detect equipment failures before they occur, minimizing downtime and also reduces maintenance costs. To address the challenge of delivering goods quickly and efficiently, we have started to explore innovative last-mile delivery solutions such E-Vehicles at Delhi- Kapashera, Tamil Nadu- Chennai, Coimbatore and Karnataka- Hubli & Micro Pod-EVs along with micro-fulfillment centers located closer to urban areas.

Nirav Doshi: In recent years, warehousing processes have evolved significantly, primarily driven by changes in the product mix handled and the increasingly complex fulfillment needs of customers. While the fundamental processes remain the same, several key areas have undergone notable transformations:

  • Barcoding and Automation: With the widespread adoption of automation technologies, barcoding has become essential for efficient warehouse operations. Barcodes are used extensively for tracking and identifying products, enabling automated systems to make informed decisions based on the data collected.
  • Unit Load Handling: There has been a shift towards unit load handling, particularly in putaway, picking, and order fulfillment processes. This shift requires a re-evaluation of traditional methods to accommodate the dynamic nature of handling individual units rather than bulk pallets.

NIDO offers a range of solutions to address these evolving warehousing processes:

  • Smart Conveyors: NIDO provides smart conveyor systems that streamline material handling processes within the warehouse. These conveyors are equipped with advanced sensors and controls to optimize the flow of goods and improve operational efficiency.
  • Assisted or Automated Putaway and Picking Solutions: NIDO offers solutions for automated or assisted putaway and picking processes, leveraging robotics and other advanced technologies to enhance speed and accuracy. These solutions reduce labour requirements and minimize errors in warehouse operations.
  • Order Fulfillment Automation: NIDO provides automation solutions for order fulfillment, including automated order picking systems and robotic order packing stations. These solutions enable faster order processing and improve order accuracy, enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • Sorters: NIDO's sorter systems efficiently handle the sorting of products based on various criteria such as destination, size, or SKU. These sorters can significantly increase throughput and reduce the time required for order processing and shipment preparation.

By offering these innovative solutions, NIDO helps warehouses adapt to the evolving demands of the industry, improve operational efficiency, and meet the complex fulfillment needs of customers effectively.

Asim Behera: Over the past few years, warehousing has undergone a significant transformation driven by:

  • E-commerce boom: The surge in online shopping demands faster order fulfilment and higher picking accuracy.
  • Labor shortages: Automation helps address workforce challenges, ensuring operational efficiency despite labor constraints.
  • Increased demand for customization: Warehouses now handles a wider variety of goods with varying storage needs, requiring flexible and adaptable solutions.

We deliver a comprehensive warehousing automation strategy, encompassing a seamless journey from in-depth consultation and customized design to expert solution implementation, successful go-live, and exceptional after-sales support. With readily available spare parts, we ensure your operation maintains peak performance. Our tailored solutions for optimized warehousing

  • Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS): Unit Load ASRS: Maximizes storage density for palletized goods and oversized items by intelligently leveraging vertical space. Mini-Load ASRS: Provides rapid retrieval and storage of bins, small totes, and other smaller, high-volume goods, ideal for fast-paced environments.
  • Sorting Transfer Vehicles (STVs): These efficient, rail-guided vehicles automate the sorting and movement of goods within the warehouse and enhancing throughput while making the overall environment safe.
  • Advanced Conveying Systems: We offer a comprehensive selection of conveying systems, including roller, belt, and overhead conveyors, designed to streamline the flow of goods throughout the facility.
  • Warehouse Management System (WMS): Integrating seamlessly with our automation solutions, a WMS optimizes inventory control, order fulfilment, and overall warehouse operations.

Our solutions directly address the evolving warehousing landscape by delivering:

  • Elevated Operational Efficiency: Automation minimizes manual tasks, enhances picking accuracy, and optimizes order fulfilment times.
  • Increased Throughput: Automated systems facilitate the processing and handling of significantly larger volumes of goods compared to manual operations.
  • Maximized Uptime: Our robust and reliable solutions minimize downtime, ensuring consistent and smooth warehouse operations.
  • Reduced Cost of Ownership: We prioritize cost-effective solutions that deliver long-term value.
  • Scalability and Energy Efficiency: Our systems are designed to adapt to your evolving needs while minimizing energy consumption.

Expectations from warehousing service providers

Nitin Joshi: 3PL service providers are viewed as strategic partners capable of delivering various benefits, including optimizing supply chain operations, achieving cost efficiency, and enhancing customer satisfaction. As the principal company, we engage in close collaboration with our 3PL partners and their operational teams to establish a shared understanding of warehouse processes and collectively pursue strategic objectives.

Before implementation, we establish clear communication channels and define expectations through detailed discussions on Service Level Agreements (SLAs), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and operational requirements. Through collaborative planning sessions, we work with our 3PL partners to optimize processes and improve efficiency.

Our company promotes a culture of continuous improvement and a solution-oriented mindset, actively seeking feedback and collaborating on innovative solutions to enhance efficiency. Performance metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) evaluated with our 3PL partners include order accuracy, inventory accuracy, per person productivity, and space utilization.

Clients’ receptiveness to deploy the latest advances in warehousing

The receptivity of customers and clients to deploying the latest advances in warehousing technology, automation, and infrastructure tends to vary based on several factors, including the size of the business, industry sector, and geographic location.

Dr. Arunachalam R: In this evolving modern phrase, the market needs and demand of the customers are continuously evolving by the advanced practices in warehousing operations. To gain a competitive edge and to meet the evolving market trends, customers are more receptive to adopt the advance warehousing technologies. Customers carefully evaluate the potential return on investment and total cost of ownership associated with deploying new technologies in their warehouses. Some customers may be more risk-averse and cautious about deploying cutting-edge technologies due to concerns about reliability, integration challenges, and potential disruptions to existing operations. They may prefer proven solutions with a track record of success in similar environments.

Nirav Doshi: Initially, the adoption of the latest advances in warehousing technology and automation was primarily driven by multinational corporations and established industry players. These companies led the way in deploying cutting-edge solutions, paving the path for transformation across the industry. Their early adoption demonstrated the value and benefits that technology and automation could bring to warehousing operations.

Over time, as the benefits became more apparent and the technology matured, customers and clients across the spectrum have become increasingly receptive to deploying the latest advances in warehousing tech, automation, and infrastructure. They recognize the competitive advantages offered by these technologies in terms of efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings. As a result, there has been a notable shift towards proactive adoption and implementation of advanced warehousing solutions among a broader range of businesses.

Today, the acceptance of automation and technology in warehousing is more widespread, with companies of all sizes recognizing the need to stay competitive and adapt to the evolving industry landscape. This growing acceptance and proactive approach towards technology adoption are driving further innovation and advancement in the warehousing sector, benefiting both providers like us and our customers alike.

Kamal Kishore Kumawat: The receptivity of customers and clients to deploying the latest advances in warehousing technology, automation, and infrastructure tends to vary based on several factors, including the size of the business, industry sector, and geographic location. However, overall, there has been a significant increase in openness and enthusiasm towards adopting these innovations. Here are some key observations about their receptivity:

  • Industry Leaders and Large Enterprises: Typically, large enterprises and industry leaders are very receptive to adopting advanced technologies. They often have the necessary capital and infrastructure to invest in high-end automation and sophisticated data systems. These businesses are usually motivated by the competitive advantage that such technologies can provide, as well as by the potential for significant cost savings and efficiency gains.
  • Mid-Sized Businesses: Mid-sized businesses tend to be cautiously optimistic about new technologies. They are interested in automation and advanced warehousing solutions but are more sensitive to the initial cost and the return on investment (ROI). These companies often require more targeted demonstrations of how specific technologies can benefit their operations before making significant investments.
  • Small Businesses: Small businesses are often the most hesitant due to limited budgets and concerns about the complexity of implementation. However, they can be highly receptive to scalable and cost-effective solutions that offer clear, immediate benefits with minimal disruption to their existing operations.
  • Sector-Specific Trends: Different sectors also show varying levels of receptivity. For example, sectors like e-commerce, retail, and pharmaceuticals are typically at the forefront of adopting warehousing innovations due to the high demands of their market environments. In contrast, more traditional sectors such as manufacturing may adopt new technologies at a slower pace.

Strategies to enhance receptivity: To encourage adoption and enhance receptivity among all types of businesses, our company employs several strategies:

  • Customized Solutions: Tailoring solutions to the specific needs and constraints of different businesses, focusing on scalability and flexibility, can make the technology more accessible to smaller enterprises.
  • Post-Implementation Support: Providing robust after-sales support, including training, maintenance, and updates, can help alleviate concerns about the ongoing management of advanced technologies.

By addressing the unique needs and concerns of each client and providing clear, demonstrable benefits, we can enhance receptivity and facilitate the broader adoption of advanced warehousing technologies across various industries.

Imbibing Sustainability practices in warehouses

As most businesses are currently focused on creating strategies to lower the environmental impact of their facilities, they will lean more on their integrated logistics service providers to reduce Scope 3 carbon emissions from warehousing operations. This is done by improving building new warehousing infrastructure using sustainable materials and servicing it with sustainable energy sources. In the near future, we will see integrated logistics service providers making increased use of emissions visibility tools to help reduce GHG emissions within supply chains. These tools are already in use by fourth-party logistics (4PL) providers to overall increase the visibility of logistics but will be directed as well to have a better view of emissions. This would be a great asset for businesses that have set ambitious decarbonisation targets which can be achieved via continuous improvement. Customers are actively embracing circular economy principles to minimize waste. Improving Circularity with the help of reusable pallets, and disposable and/or reusable packaging can drastically help reduce carbon footprint within a warehouse. So far recyclability has been pursued by LSPs at the behest of customer requests but going forward waste management will become an important criterion for customers to select LSPs.

Nitin Joshi: At Fabindia, sustainability lies at the heart of our brand ethos. As a commitment to renewable energy sources, we have implemented solar panels at our Home & Lifestyle warehouse to generate a part of the energy requirement. By consolidating shipments at our warehouses, we optimize transportation routes, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The majority of our local transportation is carried out using CNG vehicles. To address packaging waste, we have implemented strategies such as right-sizing packaging to minimize material usage, promoting the reuse of cartons at both our warehouses and stores, and utilizing totes for inter-warehouse movement of goods. Additionally, we prioritize the use of biodegradable packaging materials to minimize our environmental footprint. Looking ahead, our future sustainability initiatives will focus on expanding clean energy generation to our other warehouses and transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs) for first and mid-mile transportation. These efforts reflect our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible business practices.

Technology and automation improving warehousing KPIs

Technology and automation have emerged as pivotal solutions to navigate this complexity and bolster overall efficiency. Several emerging technologies play a vital role in revolutionizing the warehousing practices to adhere to the upgrading competitive market. These technologies will create massive impact in each and every field of supply chain.

Nitin Joshi: The complexity of the fashion supply chain arises from the extensive array of unique SKUs managed within the value chain. Technology and automation have emerged as pivotal solutions to navigate this complexity and bolster overall efficiency.

  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software: Offering comprehensive visibility into each stage of the product lifecycle, PLM optimizes the product development process.
  • Vendor portal: Enhancing inbound visibility, Advance Shipping Notice (ASN) systems provide insight into movement from vendor to warehouse, expediting merchandise receiving processes.
  • Warehouse Management System (WMS): Integral to fashion supply chains, WMS facilitates real-time inventory tracking and system-guided storage and retrieval, enhancing omni-channel fulfillment.
  • Automated Sortation system: Employing methods like Put-to-Wall automated sortation systems enable swift sorting of large-volume inventory based on product size, shipping speeds, and other attributes.
  • Transport Management Systems (TMS): A robust TMS furnishes complete visibility into stocks in transit while streamlining shipping processes through automation. This includes route planning, carrier selection, and shipment tracking, resulting in cost savings, heightened visibility and control, and improved delivery times.
  • Merchandise Planning tool: Merchandising software aids in precise planning, purchasing, allocation, and replenishment of stocks, thereby bolstering sales throughput and minimizing markdowns.
  • Order Management System (OMS): OMS helps us in consolidation of orders across E-Com platforms (Third party and Captive Websites) and automating the fulfilment process of these orders.

Within our Omni Channel supply chain, we've utilized technology across multiple facets to optimize warehousing and logistics operations, resulting in heightened efficiency, precision, and agility. These solutions have facilitated comprehensive visibility throughout the entire process chain.

Deepak Jain: Technology advancements have significantly impacted Argon & Co, empowering us to enhance our role as a warehousing consultant. This enables us to deliver more efficient, data-driven, and technologically advanced solutions to our clients:

  • Data-Driven Insights: Technology enables us to gather extensive warehouse data and leverage analytics for smarter layouts, optimized inventory, and process improvements.
  • Efficient Solution Design: Using advanced tools like simulation software, we create tailored layouts that optimize space, material flow, and operational workflows.
  • Real-Time Visibility: Integration of RFID and IoT sensors provides clients with enhanced visibility into inventory levels, order status, and equipment performance for better decision-making.
  • Automation Integration: Leveraging robotics and automated systems, we enhance efficiency, accuracy, and productivity while reducing labour costs and errors.
  • Remote Monitoring and Support: Utilizing remote access, we offer timely assistance, proactive maintenance, and quick troubleshooting, minimizing disruptions in warehouse operations.

Upcoming technologies set to make a huge impact on warehousing practices

The automation of small and medium-scale warehouses will play a crucial role in democratizing the adoption of automation across the industry. Advancements in technology and the development of more affordable automation solutions are making it increasingly feasible for small and medium-sized warehouses to implement automation effectively.

Nitin Joshi: There are rapid advancements in technology such as AI, IoT, and blockchain. Regularly, we engage with technology partners to stay abreast of emerging technologies aimed at streamlining Fashion Supply Chains. We prioritize technologies and automation deemed essential rather than merely beneficial. AI and ML are poised to revolutionize business operations throughout the supply chain, from demand forecasting to warehouse robotics and dynamic pricing adjustments in stores. Consequently, the future of supply chain management at Fabindia will be marked by enhanced efficiency, transparency, agility, and sustainability driven by advancements across various technological fronts.

Dr. Arunachalam R: The Autonomous Mobile Robots along with Automated Guided Vehicles can navigate the warehouse efficiently and can reduce the human intervention in various operations such as picking, packing, sorting, palletizing and transporting goods within the warehouse. AI algorithms with Machine Learning techniques help companies to deal with Capacity optimization, demand fluctuations, reduction of operating costs, Route optimization, automation of administrative tasks and speeds up informative-intensive operations. The real time tracking of inventory, environmental conditions within the warehouse are enabled by IoT systems. Operational training programs can be provided through the Virtual and Augmented reality systems for the warehouse employees. Drones can be used for inventory management, stocktaking, and even last-mile delivery, improving operational efficiency and reducing labour costs. By analyzing historical data and external factors, predictive analytics can forecast the demand patterns, optimize inventory levels, reduce lead times and improve resource allocation in warehouses. These technologies, when integrated effectively, have the potential to significantly enhance the efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility of warehousing operations, ultimately leading to cost savings and improved customer satisfaction.

Nirav Doshi: One upcoming technology that is expected to make a significant impact on warehousing practices is automation in micro-fulfillment centers. Micro-fulfillment centers are small-scale warehouses located in urban areas or within existing retail spaces, designed to facilitate faster and more efficient order fulfillment for online and omnichannel retailers.

By implementing automation technologies such as robotics, automated picking systems, and conveyor systems within these micro-fulfillment centers, companies can streamline their operations, reduce order processing times, and improve inventory management. This enables them to meet the growing demand for same-day and next-day delivery while optimizing space utilization in densely populated urban areas.

Additionally, the automation of small and medium-scale warehouses will play a crucial role in democratizing the adoption of automation across the industry. Traditionally, large-scale warehouses have been the primary focus of automation efforts due to economies of scale. However, advancements in technology and the development of more affordable automation solutions are making it increasingly feasible for small and medium-sized warehouses to implement automation effectively.

These upcoming technologies have the potential to revolutionize warehousing practices by making order fulfillment faster, more efficient, and more accessible to businesses of all sizes. As a result, we can expect to see widespread adoption of automation in both micro-fulfillment centers and small to medium-scale warehouses in the near future, driving further innovation and efficiency in the industry.

  • AI and ML are increasingly being integrated into warehouse management systems to optimize logistics, predict trends, and automate decision-making processes. These technologies can help in demand forecasting, route planning, and even in predictive maintenance of equipment, reducing downtime and increasing operational efficiency.
  • IoT technology in warehousing is expected to expand significantly, with sensors and connected devices providing real-time data on inventory levels, equipment status, and environmental conditions. This connectivity allows for a more proactive approach to inventory management, maintenance, and overall warehouse operations.
  • Blockchain holds significant potential for improving transparency and security in supply chains. It can be used to create tamper-proof records of goods as they move through the supply chain, enhance the traceability of products, and streamline compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • As sustainability becomes more crucial, technologies that reduce the environmental impact of warehousing operations will gain traction. This includes solar-powered warehouses, smart lighting systems, and energy management tools that minimize energy consumption.
  • Drone technology is advancing to potentially handle inventory management within warehouses. Drones can quickly scan and track inventory over large areas, reach difficult places, and significantly speed up inventory checks.
  • While robotics is already utilized in some warehouses, the next generation of robots will be more sophisticated, and capable of performing a wider array of tasks with greater precision and autonomy.

Asim Behera: Some upcoming technologies are poised to significantly impact warehousing practices on a global scale. By embracing upcoming technologies such as AI, ML, Cobots, IoT, WMS etc.,  warehouses can operate with greater efficiency, accuracy, and agility, allowing them to meet the demands of a globalized and increasingly competitive marketplace.

Deepak Jain: Upcoming technologies are poised to revolutionize warehousing practices in the near future. Here are some notable advancements:

  • Augmented Reality (AR): Wearable technology equipped with AR capabilities will guide warehouse workers directly to items, reducing errors and increasing picking speed. AR overlays will display product locations, quantities, and optimal picking routes, transforming the picking process and enhancing efficiency.
  • Smart Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs): These robots will dynamically navigate warehouses, adapting to changing layouts and order fulfillment needs. Unlike traditional fixed-route robots, AMRs can handle unexpected obstacles and collaborate with human workers, improving flexibility, and efficiency in warehouse operations.
  • Blockchain for Enhanced Visibility: Blockchain technology will ensure transparency and traceability in supply chains, streamlining inventory management and fostering trust among stakeholders. By providing a secure and tamper-proof record of transactions, blockchain will enhance inventory tracking and management processes.
  • Warehouse Simulation and Digital Twins: Digital replicas of warehouses will enable virtual testing of layout changes, equipment integration, and workflow modifications. This 'what-if' scenario planning will optimize warehouse design and operations, minimizing disruption and maximizing efficiency gains by allowing for pre-implementation testing and optimization.

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