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How E-Commerce is Increasing Forklift Demands and Changing Warehouse Operations | Infographic

e-commerce is changing warehouse operations
With increased online shopping, direct-to-consumer shipments, and unpredictable shipping/shopping patterns, warehouses are changing thanks to e-commerce. And forklifts have been affected, too.

More Online Sales and Deliveries = More Workers, Hours & Equipment

E-commerce sales are increasing, with 2.3 trillion dollars spent in 2017 and an estimated 2.8 in 2018. By 2021, experts estimate there will be 4.5 trillion in online sales worldwide. To keep up with the demand, warehouses are:

  • Increasing hours
  • Hiring more staff
  • Seeing a demand for more forklift equipment


How E-commerce is increasing forklift demands and changing warehouse operations

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Warehouse Centers and Forklift Demands are Changing

The rise in e-commerce means that warehouses are shipping less pallets and bulk cases. They’re fulfilling larger orders for individual items. Forklifts and workers need to be more efficient with locating, selecting, and choosing the right goods.

  • Warehouse aisles are getting narrower and shelves are getting higher
  • Smaller, more capable forklifts are in high demand too because of tighter warehouses
  • Forklifts are increasing their role in warehouses to speed up item picking, and traveling and loading processes that aren’t as efficient with manual labor

Warehouse and Forklift Jobs are Increasing

While retail jobs are dropping, warehousing jobs are growing. E-commerce has driven the need for more warehouse centers, more hours, and more qualified forklift operators.

  • More managers, workers, and equipment operators are needed for new distribution and fulfillment centers
  • Pallet jacks that can work directly on shipment trucks are increasing
  • Third shifts are being added to many warehouses
  • Forklifts that run orders to loading trucks are increasing in demand
  • Direct-to-consumer fulfillment increases the demand for local warehouse storage, increasing the number of warehouses in regional areas and growing local forklift jobs
  • Warehouse managing positions are increasing to keep track of software, orders, item handling and shipping goods

More Automation in Warehouses

Automated systems are increasing to improve efficiency and speed inside warehouses.

  • Semi-automated order pickers are increasing to improve the picking process and reduce operator fatigue
  • Forklifts and pallet jacks are increasing in demand to take over manual tasks
  • Robotic arms are making item-picking easier
  • Demand for trained operators to fill job openings is increasing due to automation opening the door to more products available online

In addition to changing the structure and layout of your day-to-day operations to accommodate the e-commerce boom, you can improve efficiency and safety with high-quality forklift training for operators.

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