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WELCOME TO THE FUTURE What are the current trends impacting the warehouse of the future?

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hat will the warehouse of 2030 look like? 12 years may not sound like a long time, but with the pace of change being faster than ever before, companies need to start planning now, in order to keep up with ever-increasing market demands. As people begin to have more disposable income and higher expectations for fast delivery, existing distribution networks may be stretched beyond their capacity to adapt. E-commerce is a key driver for logistics and warehousing technology as consumers expect rapid responses to order placement. Technology is being driven to pick smaller quantities at an increasing rate. It’s crucial for the supply chain, logistics and warehousing industries to examine current trends and see how they can best adapt to the changing needs of the market.

TRENDS IN SOCIETY The goods that make their way through supply chains ultimately end up with consumers, and consumers 12 | MHD NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

not only drive demand, but set expectations for delivery. That makes it valuable to quickly review the macro changes occurring in society as we consider the warehouse of the future. Major trends include:

1/ Aging population In the coming years, global demographics will change due to increasing life expectancy, declining fertility rates and rising levels of education. The number of people older than 65 is expected to double in the next 25 years, reaching 13 per cent of the global population. This will impact global productivity, personal savings and the labour force. It will also change consumption and spending behaviour on a global scale, impacting production, logistics, warehousing and retailing.

2/ Expanding middle class The global middle class is projected to more than double between 2009 and 2030, rising from less than 2 billion to nearly 5 billion people. The middle class will then account for 60 per cent of the world’s population (ESPAS, 2015, p.19). Formerly poor populations, while still lagging behind developed countries, will have more purchasing power and greater access

MICHIEL VEENMAN

to information and communication technologies, and enjoy greater mobility (ESPAS, 2015, p.20).

3/ Urbanisation Urban population is expected to pass 6 billion by 2045. In 2015, 54 per cent of the world’s population was living in cities; by 2050, that will reach 66 per cent. It is predicted that by 2030, the world will have 41 mega-cities with 10 million inhabitants or more. These developments will impact where goods are produced and consumed.

4/ Growth of the sharing economy Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit are examples of the rapid emergence of the sharing economy. According to PwC, the five key sharing sectors — travel, car-sharing, finance, staffing and music/video streaming — have a potential to generate global revenues of $335 billion by 2025 (PwC, 2015). The concept is already being extended to the construction industry and sharing will eventually come to logistics with its heavy assets and infrastructure.

5/ Globalisation and de-globalisation Globalisation is the increased movement of goods, capital and workers across national boundaries.

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MHD Supply Chain Solutions November-December 2018  

For over 40 years, MHD Supply Chain Solutions magazine has been bringing its readers leading-edge supply chain management information from t...

MHD Supply Chain Solutions November-December 2018  

For over 40 years, MHD Supply Chain Solutions magazine has been bringing its readers leading-edge supply chain management information from t...