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The rise of technology in the workplace, particularly the huge leaps made over the past 15-20 years, has affected nearly every industry in America (and the world at large), and material handling is no exception. This has forced warehouse management and material handling business to keep up with the times and adapt their warehouses to meet the changing demands of commerce – this probably includes you too.


Curious to learn what kind of trends have been seen most often in the new world of material handling? Want to know what your business may have to do to keep up in the changing landscape? We’ve assembled a few of the biggest and most frequently-encountered trends in the world of material handling, and what it might mean for your business:


The Growth of E-commerce: Chances are this has affected your business one way or another already, and it’s just going to grow from here. By 2018, experts predict that 9% of every single sale made in America will be strictly e-commerce based; and when you consider how many billions of individual sales and transactions occur in America each year, that number is pretty staggering. Is your business ready for this changed focus? Do you have an online portal, or are you equipped to handle online orders directly from your storefront or factory? If your business still doesn’t quite have an e-commerce strategy, now is the time to look into it.


Robots and Automation: Robots already play a big part in manufacturing, and they’re set to become even more common in materials handling and logistics. Autonomous equipment is already being tested and rolled out in many areas such as forklift operation, loading and unloading of trailers, and even over-the-road trucking. The impact of these developments on business and the workforce is yet to be determined, but rest assured they will all play a big role over the next few years.


Improved Safety and Productivity: Moreso than just creating robots for labor, innovations in material handling have led to increased productivity and safety in the workplace. New developments in things like wire shelving and industrial storage have allowed for work to be performed much more safely and efficiently by optimizing worker safety and ergonomics, from picking to stocking to unloading shipments from the trailer.


Advanced Projection and Management Software: One of the easiest ways to streamline your operations and gain an advantage in the marketplace is to continually refine your projections and bring technology into the workplace. Implementing software to to track work progress, monitor inbound and outbound shipments, and record data for sales and shipment projections will help to further refine your daily operations and cut down on spent labor, all while making sure your goals are met.

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