As consumer expectations evolve and competition in the supply chain increases, companies must adapt their systems, platforms, and processes to keep pace. But navigating the complexity of the supply chain poses a unique set of challenges for European organizations.
In this piece, we examine how the Körber rebrand, which combines the power of 12 supply chain companies into one, can benefit businesses across Europe — as well as what the future holds for this region.
Challenges at the Forefront of the European Supply Chain
While many supply chain challenges are universal, they can also vary depending on location. For companies in Europe, common roadblocks include:
- Space Limitations: In parts of Europe, warehouse space limitations can be challenging to navigate. Finding new warehouse locations or expanding existing ones is often expensive and difficult to do. In Germany, for instance, warehouse rents continue to rise — in 2019, rents in Berlin rose 11 percent while Hamburg rents spiked 9 percent.  These prices are only expected to increase, leading many organizations to turn to the power of automation to maximize warehouse capacity.
- eCommerce Boom: In today’s fast-paced world, many consumers are turning to online shopping for its speed, convenience, and low prices. While southern European countries have been generally slower to adopt this trend compared to their northern European counterparts — preferring to shop in brick and mortar stores or, at the very least, order online for in-store pickup — the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled many European retailers and their customers into the eCommerce market even faster than expected.
- Labor Shortages: Unfortunately, labor shortages have left many logistics teams across Europe without the talent they need to meet growing consumer demand efficiently and effectively. In the UK, for instance, an estimated 45 percent of companies are struggling to fill vacancies in their workforce.  To stay afloat, businesses are doing whatever it takes to recruit, train, and retain top employees. Fortunately, automation and robotics in supply chain management can help streamline many supply chain processes, as well as mitigate the effects of labor challenges.
- Vendor Relationships: Sourcing just one trusted vendor can be challenging and time consuming. But identifying multiple vendors for each supply chain need — that’s no small feat. While supply chain leaders research and identify partners that are right for their businesses, existing inefficiencies persist and productivity stalls.
Navigating Supply Chain Challenges with Competence
In recent years, many European organizations have turned to automation to help reduce their reliance on a rapidly diminishing pool of applicants and maximize their productivity without expanding the footprint of their warehouse. According to one study, the European automated material handling market was valued at USD 10.3 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach 16.7 billion by 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate of 8.7 percent.  Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) are two of the leading technologies transforming the industry, empowering warehouse employees to pick, store, and transfer goods more efficiently.
Many organizations are also investing in flexible warehouse management systems (WMS) to optimize workflow and increase transparency. Through WMS integrations with enterprise resource planning systems, customer relationship management platforms, voice picking tools, and more, organizations can boost their productivity and rapidly adjust to spikes in consumer demand. While this ability to remain nimble is vital to an organization’s success at all times, it is especially pertinent at present in light of the current European eCommerce boom.
Combat Supply Chain Complexity With a Global Partner
As organizations across Europe attempt to navigate these challenges and more, they need a supply chain partner with unparalleled depth and breadth of experience to guide them. At Körber, our goal is simple: to ensure no client’s supply chain question or concern goes unanswered. Put simply, no roadblock is too large, small, obscure, or nuanced for our diverse and experienced team to handle.
Our flexible, best-in-class solutions are developed with local languages in mind to ensure every client gets the customized support they need. With Körber by their side, organizations can streamline their operations and maximize efficiency, allowing them to ride the waves of the supply chain landscape with confidence and ease.