Amazon v. Walmart And The Race To Build New DCs
For years Amazon has been pouring money into building new fulfillment centers, sacrificing profit in the interest of market share. Walmart purchased Jet.com and other ecom companies to try to catch up. Now, the head of Walmart’s ecom division is reportedly advocating to build more fulfillment centers, but he is meeting internal resistance as ecom losses at Walmart may reach $1 billion this year.
If Walmart accelerates DC construction, the competition for warehouse workers will only get worse than it already is today – especially in ecom-heavy distribution hubs. All the more reason companies need to continue investing in DC productivity technologies. Read the inside story on Walmart’s efforts to catch Amazon on Recode.
Warehouse Productivity Is Declining(???)
Productivity in the warehousing and storage industry dropped by 7.6 percent last year, according to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Labor). Looking deeper into the numbers shows that the government’s calculation of warehouse labor productivity doesn’t necessarily provide an accurate picture of what is happening in the industry. Read our recent blog to see what’s really happening.
Green Technology for the DC
Two new projects in the US and Ireland show how solar power may figure in the future of DC energy consumption. In the US, faculty members at SUNY Binghamton are developing new energy storage processes that will help DCs reduce energy costs using roof-mounted solar panels and lithium-ion powered lift trucks. In Ireland, grocery chain Lidl is installing more than 4000 solar panels on the roof of its newest DC, generating enough electricity to power 240 homes.
Smart Glasses Come Down To Earth
Despite rosy predictions of millions of units shipped by 2021, the reality of smart glasses for industrial applications is coming into view. According to VDC, two smart glass startups recently closed their doors in a sign that the industrial market is not yet catching fire. Interest in so-called vision picking has waned as initial pilots have not let to large scale roll outs. The technology is promising, but there are still obstacles to widespread adoption. Get our take on smart glasses and AR for the DC.