SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

November 11, 2008 11:00 ET

Tomorrow's Order Fulfillment System Today -- the Role of Warehouse Automation

Best-in-Class Warehouses Are Improving Order Turn-Around Time and Decreasing Labor Costs With Automation

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - November 11, 2008) - With increasing levels of uncertainty and the inability to predict supply and demand fluctuations because of global economic pressures, today's logistics executives find themselves scratching their heads in order to find balance in the supply chain, according to latest warehouse operations report from Aberdeen, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS). To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=5351.

Aberdeen surveyed over 150 warehouse professionals and found that over 85% of respondents indicated plans to improve warehouse operations in the next 12-24 months, with almost 50% of those taking action within the next 12 months. The latest report, "Warehouse Automation: How to Implement Tomorrow's Order Fulfillment System Today," outlines not only the top pressures facing warehouse managers, but the actions and technology being used in order to drive inefficiencies out of processes and improve labor costs and performance.

Today's Best-in-Class executives are taking this time as an opportunity to continue to attack inefficiencies inside the warehouse and identify areas to improve performance in order to create agility and flexibility and drive value to the bottom-line. In fact, expanding the use of existing technology infrastructure and investigating new opportunities to leverage additional technology to reduce fulfillment costs has allowed the Best-in-Class to reduce labor costs by over 3% while decreasing order turn-around time by 1%, setting the bar for others to admire.

In comparison to Average and Laggard performers, Best-in-Class warehouses are:

--  Over two times more likely than Laggard companies and almost 50% more
    likely than Industry Average companies to be leveraging ruggedized, mobile
    devices in the distribution center.
--  Twice as likely as Industry Average companies and four times as likely
    as Laggard companies to implement and leverage automated sortation
    equipment.
--  1.5 and 3 times as likely as Industry Average and Laggard companies to
    utilize conveyor-based picking systems.
    

"In an effort to drive better efficiency and improve the utilization of the labor force, the most valuable asset in any warehouse, today's Best-in-Class are investing in and creating seamless integration with automation and material handling equipment," said Brad Wyland, Sr. Research Analyst, Aberdeen. "By creating more balanced and fluid movement of orders through the warehouse, today's leading professionals are better equipped and prepared to deal with the variability and even better positioned to outlast the long-term downturn we will face in the coming months because of their lower cost of operation."

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Forte, Kiva Systems, and Voxware. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=5351.

For additional access to complimentary Supply Chain Management Research, please visit http://research.aberdeen.com/index.php/Service-Management/.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

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