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Forbes reports that COVID-19 accelerated eCommerce growth by four to six years, and another recent statistic shows total online spending in May 2020 was up 77 percent year over year.

Warehouse and distribution centers certainly aren’t new to eCommerce, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling to keep pace with this rapid uptick in demand. That struggle creates an opportunity for you to help them improve their efficiency and speed through technologies like AI, robotics, and more. In addition, new tech solutions are needed to effectively manage performance in manufacturing—while at the same time ensuring physical distancing and remote-work policies remain intact. Take advantage of the heightened interest in collaboration, security, and mobility products by creating solutions that keep your manufacturing and warehouse customers on pace with increasing demand.

Here are a few trends and opportunities occurring in the industry now—ones you can use to your advantage

Cold-chain supply management

Managing the cold chain requires keeping a product in a specified temperature range until it reaches its destination. Sensors and monitoring systems provide data that confirms products have met the temperature criteria throughout the entire delivery process. The increased demand for perishable products and the fast-delivery requirements of the eCommerce-based food/beverage delivery market created a significant boost in cold-chain operations. The global, cold-chain market that was valued at $210.49B in 2020 is expected to grow at a CAGR of almost 15 percent from 2021 to 2028. Trade liberalization, government efforts to reduce food waste, and the expansion of retail chains by multinational companies are expected to boost growth as well1.

Micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs)

Micro-fulfillment centers—a highly recommended eCommerce strategy—

are an effective way to meet rising volume, the changing geographical nature of demand, and the growing desire for same-day delivery. Some experts predict one MFC for every tenth of the 40K US grocery stores by 20302. All those MFCs will need more label printers, scanners, and other devices to run efficiently. And deploying the right inventory-management software and a compact storage device makes it possible—and even cost-effective—to transform any storeroom into an MFC2.

IoT and AI

IoT provides the info needed to make strategic decisions using real-time data,

which can help reduce cost, improve efficiency, and enhance safety. An MPI Group study showed that 34% of manufacturers plan to incorporate IoT technologies into their processes, and 32% plan to embed it into their products. which can help reduce cost, improve efficiency, and enhance safety. An MPI Group study showed that 34 percent of manufacturers plan to incorporate IoT technologies into their processes, and 32 percent plan to embed it into their products.



eCommerce and omni-channel distribution

The eCommerce boom is here to stay, and so is omni-channel distribution—which involves responding to demand, letting customers purchase from anywhere and arrange delivery wherever they choose, and returning products (reverse logistics). For the first quarter of 2021, US eCommerce sales grew 39 percent year-over-year, to $199B. Adobe (Digital Economy Index) expects US eCommerce spending this year to total between $850 and $930B—and to top $1T in 20223.


Solutions that support these trends


Create a universal communications platform from fixed sites, mobile devices, and/or factory/field equipment. It’s critical to managing a comprehensive logistics program.


Support all these solutions with high-speed bandwidth. Can include wireless infrastructure.


Deploy automation through robotics and AI to increase efficiency by eliminating human errors in picking, packing, and shipping.


Gather data needed for warehouse management systems, reduce cost, and provide better control of operations.


Use for data-management functions in warehousing, receiving, inventory management, vehicle mounting, and route management—among other applications. Increase efficiency within the warehouse and allow the receiving and management of inventory to be visible immediately.


Improve the accuracy of receiving, picking, packaging, and shipping. Eliminate the time workers need to to get to printers in a fixed location.

Featured products

Cisco 8800 Series
Take orders or answer questions about status, billing, and promotions from anywhere with wireless IP phones.
Cisco Industrial Wireless 3700 Series
Deliver high performance and a high-density experience with access points designed for industrial and outdoor use.
Zebra DS3600-KD
Provide an ultra-rugged scanner with the versatility of a keypad and a color display—for advanced performance.
Zebra MC9300
Future-proof mobility investments with this Android, ultra-rugged, mobile touch computer that features a keypad.
Datalogic Skorpio X5
Gain an extended reading span, robust design, and state-of-the-art platform from this scan engine.
Epson ColorWorks
Furnish a label printer that’s a color upgrade from the usual black-and-white, thermal transfer devices.
Honeywell Granit 1981i
Offer a wireless, rugged, full-range, single-scanning solution that’s built for tough, industrial environments.
Tyco/Kantech EntraPass
Manage access and increase the safety of every kind of facility with smart, integrated, security solutions.

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