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RFID Trends, North America (Dec. 2022): Warehousing and Distribution Industry Outlook – Zebra Technologies Warehousing Vision Study Report

Recently, Zeba Technologies Corp. (“Zebra”) released a global research report on warehousing operations. This report builds on the results of the Zebra 2019 Global Warehousing Outlook Survey conducted in 2019, prior to the pandemic, and a similar Global Outlook Survey conducted in January-February this year, reporting on the outlook in 2025 and in 2027.

In this report, it became clear that the pandemic has not only highlighted supply chain issues, but has also accelerated the pace of response to these issues, and the need for full visibility and coordination of the supply chain. The need for full visibility and coordination of the supply chain is evident. And while technology is expected to improve productivity as well as the warehouse work environment, workers expect company-issued devices to be as easy to use as a commercially-available smartphones.

The report compiles responses from more than 1,500 executives and employees, and nearly 90% of executives recognize the need to adopt new technology. Although there is a degree of risk involved in implementing new technology, more than 80% of executives believe that the benefits of investing in new technology far outweigh the risks of not implementing it at all, and more than 80% of executives expect to implement new technology within next three years.

The reports can be found at the respective Zebra websites below:

Warehouse industry executives say it is more difficult to ship customer orders on time compared to 2019, and they are struggling with inventory accuracy and visibility. In addition, more than 40% of survey respondents said that the on-demand economy driven by the rise of e-commerce requires faster-than-ever delivery of orders, and that rising transportation costs are taking a toll on warehouse operators.

While more than 80% of executives reported that they are implementing mobility to allow workers on the floor to individually track inventory movements and optimize the use of devices to fit the nature of their work, safety, and ergonomics, both executives and employees feel the need to invest in more technology to improve their operations.

More than 90% of executives expect the use of sensor-based technologies such as RFID, Computer/Machine Vision (CV/MV), and industrial scanning (fixed) to become more common over the next five years, and companies are looking to improve the productivity of their logistics teams and better utilize their assets, equipment, and people by investing in advanced technologies that provide increased visibility, real-time guidance, and data-driven performance.