In only a few weeks, 2019 is over. A year in which we all walked the extra mile (hello, logistics peak), watched how Liverpool won the Champions League and where international leaders discussed about trade embargos. What the coming year will bring, is always a mystery. But one thing is certain: trendwatchers are working overtime.

A round number as 2020 is obviously appealing to do predictions for. This was already the case a few years ago. For example, 8 years ago trade journals were filled with trends and predictions of the magical 2020. The Dutch logistics platform therefore predicted three important logistics trends for 2020:

  1. Doing more with less;
  2. Rise of multi- and omnichannel;
  3. Improving flexibility.

The rise of multi- and omnichannel distribution

And honestly, they were quite close. Moreover, these challenges already exist a few years now. In 2018, most trucks and warehouses were fully stacked and everyone was working hard to attract new colleagues. But unfortunately, efficiency barely rose. In the meantime, multichannel took – thanks to international trade – a flight and turnover records will be beaten again at the end of this year. The associated dynamics puts much pressure on the flexibility of logistics players. Customers expect a smooth online shopping experience. In fact, everything less than perfect – from a bad customer experience to a cumbersome return process – has a bad influence on the company and is a risk of losing customers. A major part of the “perfect” experience is in hands of the logistics service provider and their internal processes.

Adaptive abilities as ultimate survival strength

That being said, responding on customer demands is nothing new. It is your right to exist as a logistics service provider – by responding correctly on customer demands, you know how to differentiate yourself. But digitization, a tight labor market, the speed of e-fulfilment and complex supply chains bring along a new dimension. Great minds that know how to design their logistics processes in a way that everything runs perfectly smooth.

Technological factors

Besides, you need to look at the bigger picture, your entire organization. How can you scale up and react flexibly through technology, so you can make a difference? From A to Z. From put-away and restocking to replenishment. Solutions that can grow along with your activities and support smart workflows. Think about robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Or maybe a solution that feels a bit closer to home; voice picking.

Labor market factors

It is available in the market for years, but it is still often unknown in warehouses. While most of the logistics service providers regularly recruit foreign labor force. ABN AMRO estimates that around 53,000 Eastern European labor migrants are working in Dutch logistics. This turns out to be a stunning 13% of the total work force of the sector. Some are hired for a shorter period, others stick around quite longer. Anyhow, they need to get trained in a short period of time in your warehouse.

Voice picking as the connecting solution

In that case, voice picking can be the ideal solution to get your workers up and running. Because it does not matter if colleagues are there for just one day, or already for years; orders need to be picked as soon as possible. So they can – referring to the perfect customer experience – get delivered the same day.

How does voice picking work?

By giving speaking orders, the system works completely intuitive. Therefore you do not need any complex training methods anymore to train your employees. Onboarding time can be reduced with 50% by doing so, which is pretty welcome. As a bonus, your colleagues reduce their error margin with 25% – since they literally get told what to do – and you significantly increase your productivity. This way, technology and the current labor market situation come together.