Lead Forensics

Survey finds warehouses plan to spend on automation and labour

The annual “Warehouse and Distribution Centre Equipment Survey” has revealed that warehouses intend to spend more on automation, but will also increase their spending on labour.

Ecommerce is growing and has put pressure on warehouses to process orders quickly and accurately. Many warehouses have increased their spending on automated systems to improve productivity, but this has not meant cutting back spending on staff wages or manual handling equipment. Human employees are being trained to work alongside robots and other automated equipment.

The survey, by the Peerless Research Group, involved executives and managers in material handling organisations who were asked about their material handling systems expenditure. Over half (57%) of respondents said that they intended to spend more on material handling equipment in 2022. Most of the people surveyed were based in the USA, but UK warehouses are also expected to spend more on equipment and labour.

Though more is being spent on automated equipment, manual handling and storage equipment manufacturers can also expect to sell more. Storage trolleys, racking, picking trolleys and packing tables remain in high demand, with nearly half of respondents (48%) intending to buy more racks and shelving. Many also expect to increase spending on equipment maintenance.

In total, 59% of respondents said that their staff wages bill will be higher during 2022. Money is not just being spent on recruiting new staff – existing staff are being paid higher wages so that staff retention is higher.

Warehouse capacity needs to increase to cope with the rise in ecommerce sales.

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