Up to 70% Increase in Barcode Technology in Warehouses by 2020

Preparing for the future of warehousing



Warehouse executives state that their lead investments and initiatives will include increasing the use of barcode scanning and tablets, and providing staff with new technology in order to accomodate their plans to increase the inventory and shipping volume over the coming years.


  • Equipping staff with technology: Executives have big plans to provide their staffs with technology that increases visibility and automation across warehouse processes, from inventory validation and order picking to packing and loading.
  • Barcode scanners: Warehouse executives plan to expand the use of barcode scanning by 70 percent by 2020. That expansion is driven by the marketplace’s increasing demand for greater efficiency, automation and speed in the handling of inbound and outbound inventory.
  • Tablet Computers: For inventory validation, warehouses will upgrade from pen/paper, spreadsheets and computer on wheels to mobile/handheld tablets that offer real-time access to warehouse management systems.
  • Warehouse/truck loading automation: Load optimization is expected to grow by 4 percent over the next few years. Warehouse executives will start installing new mobile and data capture load optimization technology solutions to maximize efficiency and agility in packing, loading and shipping. These pack and load solutions offer real-time analytics designed to increase worker productivity and reduce transportation costs.

  • Increase in Data Capture Solutions

    A makeover for stock control systems


    Next on the list: Big plans to carry out an inventory management makeover. According to Zebra’s report, another imperative strategy to optimize inventory managment is to automate cycle counting and inventory validation. To automate cycle counts, warehouse executives plan to replace pen and paper spreadsheets with mobile handheld computers and tablets that provide real-time access to warehouse management systems. The idea is to boost inventory accuracy, reduce out-of-stocks, and enhance customer service. That means slowly decreasing the number of manual computer-on-wheels or handheld batch access models, and moving toward providing workers with mobile handheld technology with instant, direct access to the WMS. You can see the comparison in the graphs below between 2015 and 2020.

    Reinventing the warehousing system

    RFID Burgeoning visibility



    With RFID now on the rise due to its significant drop in costs over the years, thanks to the advancement of technology, more and more warehouse executives are using RFID in their WMS. You could also say that it’s simply just keeping up with the times i.e. meeting customer demands. RFID offers the promise of heightened inventory visibility - the ability to know precisely where any pallet, case or SKU is in the warehouse at any given moment. For this reason, retailers, manufacturers, distribution and logistics providers are planning to more than double their usage of RFID for cycle counts and inventory validation by 2020.

    Keeping customers satisfied is essential for almost every business, thus, optimizing warehouse logistics so that the right goods reach the right customers at the right time has never been more crucial amid the explosion of direct-to-consumer sales.

    A changing ecosystem means retailers, wholesalers and transportation companies are not only delivering items to stores, but shipping them to consumers’ homes. In addition, they are servicing more customer who buy online, pick-up in-store and meeting the growing demand for same-day deliveries.