In the era of Amazon Prime, two-day, even same-day, shipping has become the norm and a customer expectation. Manufacturers, retailers and others along the supply chain are clambering to keep up with demand, provide accurate inventory reports in real-time, ship products quickly, and efficiently manage returns.

In order to gauge trends and see how manufacturers, transportation and logistics firms and retailers are preparing for this increasingly on-demand economy, Zebra Technologies conducted a “Future of Fulfillment Vision Study” and recently published its findings. The study surveyed over 2,700 industry professionals across various countries in North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America. The study revealed plans for 78% of logistics companies to provide same-day delivery by 2023, while 40% anticipate two-hour delivery by 2028. Seventy-six percent of the retailers surveyed are using in-store inventory to fulfill online orders and many retailers are considering revamping their brick and mortar stores to better act as fulfillment centers to accommodate increased online orders and significantly higher return rates.

So, how does technology come into play as the economy continues to shift towards omni-channel logistics? According to the survey, 72% of companies are utilizing bar codes, while 55% of organizations are still using manual pen-and-paper processes that are cumbersome and inefficient. By 2021, handheld mobile computers and barcode scanners are expected to be used by 94% of the survey respondents. In addition, RFID technology and inventory management systems are expected to grow by 49%. The shift towards more barcode and RFID-enabled systems will help manage inventory, improve accuracy and reduce overstocks and out-of-stock incidences.

iTech Automation partners with Zebra Technologies to gain early access to deliver the latest, most innovative products and processes. To find out more about their recent study, click here.

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