Helping warehouse and logistics management go the distance

OKI Europe’s Javier Lopez explores how technology can play a key role in operational efficiency, helping warehouse and logistics businesses thrive under increasing demand
The warehousing and logistics sector has experienced increasing demand in recent years primarily due to the continued rise of e-commerce and the convenience of home delivery. This growth was accelerated in 2020 by the pandemic as stay-at-home restrictions and enforced retail closures led to a dramatic increase in consumers ordering items online. 
Logistics investments in Europe alone rose to 38.64 billion euros in 2020, marking the highest figure on record since 20131. And the momentum isn’t expected to stop anytime soon. The European logistics market is estimated to grow by an astonishing 71% by 20252 and this will have a knock-on effect on the continent’s warehousing sector which is expected to add an additional 11.6 million square feet of warehousing space as early as 20223.
While this is all very positive for warehouse and logistics operators, the increasing demand can pose various challenges. These could include managing rotas, health and safety, and security, to correctly labelling products and racking, and managing important documentation, all of which will need to be carefully considered and planned to accommodate growth. 

The power of print in warehousing and logistics

Now, more than ever, warehouse and logistics operators will be looking to improve operational efficiency to cope with an increase in demand. The first port of call for many will be looking at existing processes, technology and operations to identify where improvements can be made. However, one area that can often be overlooked is print. 
Documents in various forms play a vital role in warehouse and logistics operations, yet these demanding environments are typically harsh meaning a printer’s life can be short-lived. However, a device that is robust enough to survive these conditions can be a worthy investment that can help operators streamline processes and react quickly to sudden changes which are frequent in this fast-paced sector.
Organisations also need round the clock access to fast, robust and reliable printers to support on everything from labelling incoming and outgoing shipments to printing barcodes, shipping notes, inventories, rotas, receipts, and essential health & safety signage and notices on-demand. Traditionally, businesses would invest in different printers for different uses or rely on third-party suppliers, however, technology has advanced so much that warehousing and logistics businesses can now produce everything they need from one compact and versatile device.   
Another area to consider is access. People are the lifeblood of the warehousing and logistics sector, and this means high movement of people in warehouses and logistics environments. Within this sector security is key, ensuring only authorised individuals have access to printers and confidential documentation.
Finally, with increased demand, sustainability must also be considered. The logistics and warehousing sector is known to be a major contributor to global emissions and with consumers increasingly conscious of their own environmental impact and basing purchasing decisions around sustainability, businesses need to ensure operations remain environmentally friendly as demand grows.

The device that delivers the goods

Devices like OKI’s award-winning C650 are designed specifically for sectors that need speed, reliability and flexibility from their printer but where space is often limited. As the world’s smallest high-performance A4 colour printer, OKI’s C650 can print all the documentation and collateral warehouses and logistics businesses need in-house and on-demand. Built for a long life, the C650 uses more durable metal parts than comparable devices which typically rely on plastic. This means users can expect minimal downtime, but routine maintenance can be performed from the front of the device when required.
When it comes to barcode printing, the C650 supports 10 types of barcode font with 26 variations and two types of two-dimensional barcode. IC card authentication enhances the security of the printer, allowing only verified users and the addition of Secure Print means all print jobs are encrypted and can only be released with a PIN or IC card.
The C650 is also designed to help businesses achieve their sustainability goals. Bringing the printing of documentation and signage in-house reduces wastage which typically results from bulk print orders through third-party suppliers. Furthermore, the use of metal parts in place of plastic means OKI’s C650 has a longer life and a lower environmental impact. An innovative toner cartridge design ensures a high duty cycle and maximum usage of all consumables which not only means the C650 keeps printing and printing, it also reduces the logistical footprint that typically grows every time replacement consumables are ordered.

The road ahead

There’s no denying that the warehousing and logistics sector is thriving across Europe. Businesses that want to make the most of the growing opportunity should be looking at all areas where operations can be streamlined, costs can be saved and gains can be made. Investing in a compact device designed specifically to cope with the sector’s key printing challenges will help warehousing and logistics businesses go the distance. 
Please note, for information on specific media that should be used with OKI printers for the applications specified on this page, please contact your local certified dealer or contact us.

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