June 29, 2017 / News
Warehousing in Australia
Warehousing is one of the most crucial elements in the supply chain. The supply chain is concerned with the conversion of raw materials, sourced from suppliers, into a finished product and its delivery to the end customer. Warehousing is an intermediary step that involves the storage of goods and/or materials prior to sale or production. Warehouses are dynamic hubs of activity with goods constantly flowing in and out. For this reason, it is vital that appropriate planning takes place, goods are meticulously stored, and the right information regarding its distribution is available, to ensure that stock isn't sitting idly for extended periods of time. If poorly managed, prolonged or improper storage of goods can be costly for companies and has the potential to cause customer dissatisfaction.
According to IBIS World's general warehousing industry report, warehousing is a $5.3 billion industry in Australia, with a predicted annual growth of 2.8% from 2017-2022. Warehousing appears to be going from strength to strength, as costly operation inefficiencies continue to be minimised through the utilisation of technology, inventory volumes from the private sector are predicted to increase, and the outsourcing of logistic functions become commonplace. The warehousing industry is currently in the mature stage of its life cycle. This has been indicated by the saturation of competition in downstream markets, larger firms consolidating their position through greater integration, and the exiting of smaller firms from the industry.
Recently, there has been an increase in demand for warehousing and distribution spaces, which has led to a rise in industrial land values in Australia. This has been spurred by the impending entrance of Amazon into Australia, which will require a significant amount of space to accommodate all of their fulfillment centres. Amazon is a giant in the international retailer space that boasts 'Earth's biggest selection' of consumer goods, offering everything from books to groceries. The enormity of Amazon's range will require the employment of local warehouses to store their products and help ensure that their foray into the Australian market is viable.
The increased demand in warehousing can also be attributable to the rise in popularity of online retailing, increased merchandise imports and exports, and the trend of outsourcing warehousing activities to third-party storage services. Since online retailing does not rely on physical stores to sell their products, warehouses are required to store the goods until a sale has been made. With online retailing, large amounts of stock are stored for longer, which directly benefits warehousing due to the increased investment in their services.
Logistics and Technology in Warehousing
The warehousing industry has experienced increased integration of technology to streamline various processes and improve operational efficiency.
Some of the most prominent technologies implemented in warehousing spaces include:
1. Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Tags
As the name suggests, Radio-Frequency Identification tags use radio waves to transfer information between tags attached to the inventory and the scanners that read the information. Inventory tracking through RFID technology enables greater visibility of the stock and helps to prevent loss.
2. Order Fulfillment Optimization Technology
Order Fulfillment Optimization Technology refers to the various technologies available that allow for more effective and efficient completion of orders that come through. An example of this is a pick-to-light system, which involves having lights above the racks to identify the location of the items to be packed. Order Fulfillment Optimization Technology converts order fulfillment from a legacy system to a paperless system, effectively streamlining this process. Order Fulfillment Optimization Technology improves the accuracy and speed of order completion and helps to ensure customer satisfaction.
3. Warehousing Management Systems (WMS)
Warehousing Management Systems are software systems implemented to help manage the daily operations of a warehouse. Warehouse Management Systems provide management with the information they need to better control and optimise the movement of inventory in and out of the warehouse. Some basic functions of WSM include goods receipt, allocation of storage location, formation of shipping units, generation of packing information, and so on.
This increased reliance on technology, to manage warehouses and automate functions, has also had a significant impact on the hiring patterns in this industry. The integration of this technology has resulted in some resistance from employees, as it has caused some positions to be cut, or downsized. This is particularly true for more entry level positions that are easily automatable. Due to the permeation of technology in this industry, there has been a trend towards more skilled positions, such as machinists and engineers to repair the equipment used. However, the warehousing industry is still fruitful ground for employment opportunities, as there is a range of positions that have varying requirements for qualifications, skills, knowledge, and experience.
How To Get a Job in Warehousing
For some warehousing jobs, formal requirements are not necessary for the role. This includes, pick packing and process work, which typically involve manual labour and basic computer skills.
However, other higher level positions do require formal certifications and/or qualifications to be considered for the role. Some positions may even require certain licences and/or tickets.
The following qualifications and certifications may be helpful in gaining employment in the warehousing industry:
- Certificate in Warehouse Operations
- Certificate in Logistics
- Bachelor of Engineering (for higher management positions)
- Bachelor of Business/Commerce (for higher management positions)
Are you an employer looking for quality warehouse workers to help keep up with demand? or are you a job seeker looking for a position in a warehouse? Contact us on our website, or call 1300 824 403.