Materials Handling Technology Study

Materials Handling Technology Study

Modern Materials Handling magazine conducted its annual Materials Handling Technology Study to better understand the usage and adoption of technology applications being used and planned for use in materials handling environments. Where applicable, results are tracked back to prior studies to gauge any changes that may have occurred over time.

Software is playing an important role in the smooth running of today’s warehousing and distribution operations, and the latest results of this Modern Material Handling’s study proves that.

In this year’s survey of Modern Materials Handling subscribers, respondents shared their views of current software usage, projected software investments, and critical implementation and usage concerns.

Specific areas investigated included:

  • Company’s adoption of technology
  • Impact of the current state of the economy on technology purchases
  • Annual spending on technology solutions and circumstances driving technology investments
  • Usage and plans to evaluate materials handling technology solutions
  • Reasons for implementing materials handling applications: What challenges looking to address
  • Types of materials handling software solutions currently in use/planned for purchase or upgrade:
    • Warehouse Management Software (WMS)
    • Transportation Management Software (TMS)
    • Supply chain management solutions
  • Adoption of cloud-based applications
  • Respondent Demographics

Key questions asked included:

  • Describe your company’s adoption of technology for your materials handling procedures
  • How has the current economic climate changed your company’s approach to adopting materials handling management software?
  • How has your company’s use of materials handling software changed over the past 2 years?
  • Which of the following software applications are currently in use in your warehousing and distribution environment?
  • Are you using or planning to evaluate cloud-based applications?
  • Use or adoption of Big Data, IoT, Blockchain, WMS, TMS
  • What is driving your decision to invest in new materials handling or supply chain software?

Down the full, 33-page report which features a deep dive into the data gleaned from this year’s technology survey gathered from our readers.

Millennials in the Supply Chain Workforce

Supply Chain Workforce Study

New research from SCMR, APICS and APQC reveals a generation that is enthused and engaged in a career in the supply chain workforce.

As more millennials (born between 1980 and 1995) enter the marketplace, managers are recognizing the need to adjust traditional business and supply chain approaches to embrace a generation that is changing the workplace. Those who adapt quickly may garner the benefits gained from a highly competitive, techno-savvy generation. Supply Chain Management Review magazine, APICS and APQC, are conducting a study to better understand your generation as a critical segment of the supply chain workforce.

This industry research was conducted by Peerless Research Group in conjunction with Supply Chain Management Review , APICS, the leading professional association for supply chain and operations management, and APQC, (American Productivity & Quality Center) a premier provider in benchmarking, best practices and knowledge management applications.

The research was executed to better understand how Millennials become involved in the supply chain workforce and learn more about their viewpoints in working in today’s supply chain.

Some of the questions asked include

  • Your First Position within Supply Chain
  • Employment Tenure
  • Areas within Supply Chain Currently Involved
  • Prospective Areas of Future Supply Chain Involvement
  • Challenges and Frustrations with Current Job
  • Likelihood of Working in Supply Chain Field in 5 years
  • Reasons for Entering the Supply Chain Field
  • Training and Education Plans
  • Professional Association Membership

Modern Materials Handling 2018 Salary Survey

Materials Handling Salary Survey

Purpose of Salary Survey Industry Research Study

  1. To determine the current salaries and overall compensation for materials handling professionals
  2. To examine materials handling pros’ current job and overall career satisfaction

Specifically, the research examines

  1. Compensation
    • Salary level as well as bonus plans
  2. Job and career history
    • # of years with current employer
    • Job responsibilities
    • # of years work in field
  3. Satisfaction with career as a materials handling professional
    • Job stability & Job-related pressures/stress
  4. Demographics

Salary Survey Methodology

In August/ September 2018 an email invitation was sent to subscribers of Modern Materials Handling asking for their participation in this study. The email included a dedicated URL linked to a website which hosted the questionnaire. As an incentive to respond, participants were given an opportunity to enter a raffle for one of two $100 Amazon.com e-cards. Results are based on 304 qualified respondents. Where available and applicable, 2018 results are trend to MMH’s 2015, 2016 and 2017 Salary Surveys. The margin of error for this study is +/- 5.8%, meaning if the entire population responded, results may vary by +/- 5.8%.

Warehouse Operations & Trends Survey

Warehouse & Operations Study

This industry research was conducted by the Peerless Research Group on behalf of Logistics Management and Modern Materials Handling magazine, and marks our thirteenth annual Evaluation of Warehouse Operations & Trends survey.

The study was conducted to evaluate current activities and to assess any trends in the evolution of warehouses and distribution-center facilities and operations.

Specific areas of investigation include:

  • Nature of warehouse operations and distribution center’s operations
  • Size of distribution center and scope of distribution activities
  • Areas for possible expansion
  • Distribution center systems and technologies in use
  • Means for measuring productivity
  • Actions taken to manage warehouse operating costs
  • Events that cause disruptions in distribution center operations

The report compares this year’s findings to 2017, 2016 and 2015 results. In each wave, the survey was administered via email invitation to subscribers of Logistics Management magazine. Respondents were qualified for being involved in decisions as they pertain to their company’s distribution center operations.

Included in this report is

  • Size and Scope of Distribution Center
  • Systems and Technologies in Use
  • Company Policies/Initiatives
  • Respondent and Company Profile

Supply Chain Management Review’s Compensation and Executive Education Salary Survey

Salary Survey & Education Study

2019 Salary Survey

Purpose of salary survey study

  • Determine the current salaries and overall compensation for supply chain professionals.
  • Examine the current job/overall career satisfaction of supply chain professionals.
  • Ascertain supply chain executive’s education as well as participation in career-related education

Specifically, the research examines

  • Compensation
  • Job and career history
  • Satisfaction with career as a supply chain professional
  • Education to include executive classes, training, certifications

Demographics Methodology

In May, 2019, an e-mail invitation was sent to subscribers of Supply Chain Management Review asking for their participation in this industry research study. The e-mail included a dedicated URL linked to a website hosting the questionnaire. Results are based on 199 qualified respondents. The margin of error for this study is +/- 7.1%, meaning if the entire population responded, results may vary by +/- 7.1%.

Some of the questions asked include

  • What is your current total annual salary for 2019?
  • In the last year, by what percent did your salary level change?
  • Age and salary by age
  • Gender and salary by gender
  • Number of direct and indirect reports
  • Experience and Salary by years of logistics/supply chain management experience
  • Factors that most greatly affect satisfaction with current job
  • Level of education and degree
  • Company size: Number of employees

Modern Materials Handling Pallet Usage Study

Pallet Market Research Report

This study is the fourth wave of a tracking study conducted on behalf of Modern Materials Handling. The industry research is conducted to better understand current & future pallet usage and to assess any trends that may be occurring in the pallet market. Results in this report trend back to the 2015 wave.

Areas of Investigation:

  • Factors considered important when determining which types of pallets to use
  • Types of pallets (wood, plastic, metal, etc.) in use/planned for future use
  • Usage of new vs. used wood pallets
  • Usage of plastic pallets
  • Usage of metal pallets
  • Level of usage for pallets during the next two years
  • Recent changes to pallet usage patterns
  • Usage of pallets rental services
  • Usage of pallets outside the US

Sample: Subscribers of Modern Materials Handling magazine Respondent Qualifications: Being employed at a location that uses pallets Research Method: By email invitation. The invitation included a URL linked to a dedicated website which hosted the questionnaire.

Some questions which were asked include:

  • What are the most important factors in your decisions to use a certain type of pallet?
  • What types of pallets do you use?
  • What are the sizes you commonly use?
  • What type of wood pallets are you primarily using?
  • Are the wood pallets you purchase new or used?
  • How would you describe your usage of plastic pallets during the last year?
  • During the next 12 months do you expect your usage of metal pallets to increase, decrease or stay the same?
  • Does your company rent, plan to rent pallets or use a retrieval/recovery provider?
  • Over the next two years do you expect the number of pallets you ship internationally to increase, decrease or stay the same?
  • Are your pallet providers offering any of the following solutions?

Key Challenges and Best Practices for B2B Fulfillment

executive briefs b2b ibm

Executive Brief for IBM – September 2016 (MMH & SCMR)

Business-to-Business (B2B) Commerce, the exchange of products, services, or information between businesses—instead of businesses and consumers—is expanding by leaps and bounds. This growth is pushing more companies to rethink their fulfillment practices, particularly in the areas of inventory management, order velocity, and the ability to meet order commitment dates.

B2B Process

Credit the rapid expansion in e-commerce with driving much of the need for improved B2B processes. Today, 74% of B2B buyers research at least one-half of their work purchases online, according to Frost & Sullivan. Combined with cost savings gained by the self-serve e-commerce environment, more businesses are expected to move online in the next few years.

For further proof of the shift to higher B2B sales, you need only look at the online giant itself, Amazon.com. The company reported a number of key increases for the first quarter of 2016, when total sales rose 20.5% year over year to $20.58 billion from $17.08 billion. More specifically, it saw a surge to “more than 300,000” businesses that it serves in its Amazon Business marketplace, “ranging from small to Fortune 500 companies.”

Download this executive brief and learn more about B2B fulfillment.

E-Fulfillment Study: Addressing Customer-Driven Complexity

executive briefs e-fulfillment ryder

Logistics Management Executive Brief for Ryder – November 2018

In this Executive Brief for Ryder, we learn about managing E-fulfillment operations in the age of e-commerce means coping with all aspects of “more” for the customer. More as in more single-line orders, more special packaging, and especially more when it comes to quicker, faster delivery options. Online customers increasingly expect to be able to choose next-day or even same-day delivery options. Many expect a free delivery option with the assumption that their goods will show up reliably in a matter of days. These heightened needs add complexity to fulfillment and logistics operations.

While e-commerce requires extensive piece picking to fill orders, the complexities involved reach far beyond the forward pick areas of distribution centers (DCs). To begin with, there is increased complexity in managing inventories across a DC network to be able to meet demand without running up costs. DCs need to be able do things like cross-dock goods, keep forward pick areas replenished, and perform pick, pack and ship tasks quickly and accurately while holding down costs. Customer expectations around delivery windows also add complexity. Companies need to find the right mix of transportation modes and parcel delivery services to meet order commitments at lowest possible cost.

In a sense, the toughest “more” in e-fulfillment is more complexity in its various forms. Organizations need to have systems and resources in place to be able thrive in the face of complexity. Whether it’s directly within their own network, by leveraging a third-party logistics (3PL) partner, or a mix of both internal and external capabilities companies can succeed. Nearly every company talks about being customer-driven, but without the right mix of logistics capabilities to support e-commerce, customer satisfaction will suffer.

Download the full executive brief.

Omnichannel Fulfillment and Distribution

Omnichannel Saddle Creek

Executive Brief for Saddle Creek – May 2018

Omnichannel is the new black. Omnichannel shoppers buy and spend more. They are more loyal and they are here to stay. Companies of all kinds are jumping on the omnichannel bandwagon. Therefore, they strive to sell their products wherever and whenever their customers are shopping.

In doing so, they find themselves faced with heightened customer expectations. Product and availability information, delivery and return options, and seamless service are some of the expectations. Likewise accommodating these expectations is no simple feat, but it is an increasingly critical competitive differentiator.

To better understand how companies handle fulfillment and distribution today and plan for the future, Saddle Creek engaged Peerless Research Group to conduct an online survey of Logistics Management readers, including manufacturers, retailers, ecommerce companies, wholesalers and distributors, in November 2017.

Saddle Creek engaged Peerless Research Group to conduct an online survey. The resulting study is based on survey responses from those industry professionals who are personally involved in the evaluation, operation, recommendation or purchase of omnichannel order fulfillment and/or distribution solutions for their organizations.

Of course, establishing a more sophisticated supply chain isn’t easy. As a result omnichannel poses a host of potential challenges related to order management, fulfillment and distribution, and respondents say they are experiencing many of them.

  • Transportation-related issues
  • Inventory management across multiple facilities
  • Order processing issues
  • Scalability to accommodate growth/fluctuations

Where omnichannel is headed

Omnichannel continues to evolve. For that reason the survey identifies a number of trends that are helping to shape the practice.

Ecommerce is exploding for companies, and survey data supports this. Thirty-seven percent of respondents say they will be adding ecommerce sales channels for their customers in the next two years while 26.1 percent plan to leverage their customers’ ecommerce channel. Another 20.2 percent plan to utilize third-party marketplaces like Amazon or eBay.

Supply Chain Efficiencies with Mobile Solutions

Panasonic mobile solutions

Mobile solutions can be utilized in warehousing, logistics, distribution and manufacturing facilities to improve supply chain efficiencies. 185 managers involved in the purchase and usage of mobile and wireless solutions were surveyed about the challenges they face in managing supply chain activities, and how mobile devices and applications can improve processes.

This report shares the results of the survey to help supply chain managers better understand the types of mobile solutions being adopted and where they are being deployed. Supply chain managers can then identify those areas that are in greatest need of upgrades, and outline the plans for acquiring and revitalizing critical mobile applications.

The survey further supports the need for mobile systems as a means of sharpening inventory management procedures and fulfilling more orders rapidly and correctly.

Operational Efficiencies

Materials handling and operations managers are challenged by the need to improve operational efficiencies.

It’s no surprise to hear that managers face a litany of obstacles in running their day-to-day operations. Improving competencies in warehousing, logistics, distribution, manufacturing or field operations ranks as the top issue for most.

Servicing customers is also a primary concern of materials handling and supply chain executives, which is not surprising given the ever-increasing service level expectations of customers. The challenge of equipping workers with devices suitable for tackling the necessary tasks as well as fulfilling orders quickly and efficiently is also closely linked. (figure 1)

Logistics and warehouse manager challenges

Supply Chain Efficiencies

To further understand the challenges faced by materials handling and supply chain managers, the key operational areas were examined. The findings revealed the areas in greatest need of improvement involve warehouse and DC procedures, shipping and receiving practices, and activities involving fulfillment centers.

Mobile technology is already regarded by managers as a conduit to improving processes across the end-to-end supply chain.

Download the mobile solutions executive brief.