E-commerce explosion driving worldwise warehouse boom
Global analysis firm ABI Research has found that the global Warehouse Management System (WMS) market will be worth US$5 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 13.9 per cent.
The period will see a warehouse boom with some 57,000 more distribution centres in operation by then than last year. The continued growth of the e-commerce market and rising customer expectations are putting enormous pressure on warehouses to execute more rapid and flexible deliveries. This is driving investment in warehouse facilities, automation technologies, and warehouse management systems to coordinate and optimise operations.
“The warehouse is becoming the engine room of the supply chain and is, therefore, a focal point for investment from retailers, manufacturers, and logistics service providers,” said ABI Research principal analyst Nick Finill.
“As the warehouse technology ecosystem becomes increasingly complex, supply chain operators require more sophisticated management systems that can orchestrate the high volume and variety of intelligent, connected devices and systems within their facilities, as well as the flow of inventory.”
The firm finds that as the e-commerce boom grows in and extends beyond the established economies of China, Japan, and Korea, the Asia-Pacific will experience the highest growth of warehouse facilities and WMS revenue, becoming the largest market for the software by 2023. The rapid adoption of WMS is also expected in the emerging economies of the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Europe and North America will experience strong growth as supply chain operators increase spending on upgraded software systems.
WMS spending will also vary according to industry verticals. The retail, food and beverage, and manufacturing sectors will be responsible for the highest growth rate as they catch up with more mature verticals, such as logistics service providers.
ABI’s data suggests AI-driven innovation from WMS market leaders such as JDA Software, High Jump, and Manhattan Associates is enabling substantial flexibility and functionality in WMS and Warehouse Execution Systems, an increasingly important orchestration layer linking high-level management with connected machines. At the device and machine level, greater automation is creating demand for more sophisticated Warehouse Control Systems from major automated material handling solution providers such as Bastian Solutions, Dematic, and Honeywell Intelligrated.
“The increasing velocity of goods through the supply chain is driving demand for real-time decision making and optimisation,” said Finill. “As the margin for error in the warehouse decreases, AI and ML-enabled WMS solutions are becoming imperative for warehouses that rely on speed, efficiency, and intelligence to remain competitive.”