Global supply chains are are becoming increasingly complex and strained, encountering exponential e-commerce growth, relentless customer demands and an acute labour shortage. Optimising fulfilment efficiency and productivity is critical to protect profitability and customer satisfaction.

The square footage of the average warehouse in Europe is projected to increase by 26% in the next five years1 but warehouses and logistics companies are already struggling to replace leavers and retirees. Higher wages are in demand and there will be 95 million fewer working-age people (between 20 and 64) in 2050 than in 2015 in Europe2. The drastic worker shortage coupled with increasing warehouse locations is compromising ability to meet consumer expectations, and will eventually impact financial performance, reputation and competitiveness.

Supply chain leaders recognise that collaborative automation is key; empowering humans with technology throughout the order fulfilment journey - from production to final mile. The next-generation supply chain encompasses not only robotics and automation, but technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, Augmented Reality, cloud computing, drones, 3D printing and wearables3.

This e-book explores the current European labour shortage and ecommerce trends impacting the supply chain. Based on this outlook, it presents five automated technologies that engage the workforce and facilitate end-to-end agility, efficiency and scalability.

1 Zebra Technologies: Warehousing Vision Study