Navigating today’s Finnish warehouse optimization trends

  • August 14, 2023
Shot of a young man and woman working together in a warehouse

As Finland grapples with an aging population, labor shortages and high inflation, the country’s supply chains face both obstacles and opportunities. How are these trends influencing warehouse automation and what’s the role of consultants in optimizing warehouse operations?

Trends influencing warehouse automation
Many factors are redefining the future of warehouse operations. These issues include supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, a shift to urban distribution centers, rising costs, space optimization and the continued emergence of robotics and cobots.

  • Supply chain disruptions. Ongoing global supply chain disruptions continue to influence shifts toward flexible “just-in-case” inventory strategies. Finnish companies have adopted this practice, providing business continuity despite the unpredictability of global markets.
  • Labor shortages and high sick rates. As Finland’s demographic shift toward an older population compounds labor shortages, warehouses are increasingly investing in automation. The logistics industry is also particularly susceptible to high sick rates, with percentages rising to 10%, and peaking at 20%. These numbers are significantly higher than the typical 3–5% sick rates for office work.
  • Urban distribution centers. With soaring demand for same-day deliveries, moving distribution centers to urban locations is becoming more common. The trend is gaining momentum in Finland, and companies are also leveraging existing brick-and-mortar locations to fulfill increased demand.
  • Rising costs. High inflation rates have prompted warehouses to seek automation and optimization solutions as a buffer against escalating costs while still maintaining operational efficiencies.
  • Space optimization. To deal with a shortage of floor space and its associated high costs, warehouses are built up — not out. Automated storage and retrieval systems play a vital role in helping to maximize precious square meters.
  • The rise of robotics. Goods-to-person robotic integrations and cobots are becoming increasingly popular and offer adaptable, scalable options for many warehouse applications.

Why optimization is vital for Finnish warehouse operations
Warehouse optimization is the appropriate response to the country’s specific supply chain challenges. Effective optimization mitigates labor shortages, contends with high inflation and makes efficient use of available space. By embracing automation, Finnish warehouses are paving the way to greater resilience and competitiveness.

Increased automation not only bridges the gap caused by labor shortages, it acts as a buffer against the disruption of high sick rates. Automation provides a stout operational backbone. It helps businesses meet client demands despite fluctuations in human resources. The transition toward automation is crucial for maintaining an adaptable, efficient and future-ready warehouse operation. 

Embarking on your warehouse automation journey

Warehouse automation is vital. Implementing warehouse automation yields substantial advantages. It’s especially true for larger operations grappling with an increasing number of SKUs, order lines and associated picking. Automation can decrease labor-intensive tasks, enhance operational accuracy and provide solutions to staff retention issues. It’s a definitive advantage given Finland’s ongoing labor shortages. 

An automation roadmap will let you plan the route and select a destination. Moving to warehouse automation requires setting realistic objectives and careful planning. Knowing what you need to achieve and defining the scope of your automation project are necessary steps. 

Get help for a successful transition to automation. Knowledgeable guidance can ease the way to your ideal automation solution. Experienced professionals offer data analysis, custom solutions and decision-making guidance. Their expertise takes you through the early planning stages all the way to the implementation process. And your service provider may offer training and support for internal teams that are new to the process. 

A long-term association builds relationships for ongoing improvement. Adopting warehouse automation involves a long-term commitment. It includes training your engineering and warehouse staff, regular maintenance and access to detailed lifecycle service requirements. That said, automation comes with substantial benefits, such as reducing the amount of physical labor — and the resulting injuries — as well as time savings and the reallocation of personnel to tasks that add more value. This commitment is increasingly common among growing Finnish businesses in diverse sectors such as food, fashion and durable goods.

The power of consulting for warehouse optimization
As your trusted consultants, we bring an unbiased perspective to warehouse optimization. Our expertise helps translate your business plans into quantifiable needs, with consideration given to your unique preferences and constraints. We help steer you through a wide array of technologies to pinpoint the ideal solutions for your operation. 

With extensive industry experience and data-driven methods, we guide you toward the most beneficial technological options. Additionally, we champion your business case. We lead an analysis of the total cost of ownership against potential benefits. Our role extends beyond supplier selection to a detailed planning and requirement assessment for your automation initiative. We oversee the entire program, managing interdependent workstreams, schedules, resources and risks.

We act as your safety net, effectively mitigating risks and making sure your needs are met throughout the automation journey. Our expertise and broad perspective are invaluable in aligning your business objectives with the right technological solutions. We can help you create an efficient and future-ready warehouse operation. 

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