Interview with Christian Jacobi – How does he see the future?
On Tuesday the 19th of February, we spoke with Dr. Christian Jacobi, CEO at Agiplan GmbH, at the LogiMAT in Stuttgart about the future of automation within warehouses, the development of ‘super-size’ warehouses and the reduce of the so called ‘returning economy’. He speaks regularly about these themes and we were very curious about his point of view. It resulted in an interesting interview with some great outcomes to think about.
Dr. Jacobi was very clear about his view on automation of warehouses. In his opinion, warehouses will always consist of manual and automated systems. The human touch will remain important because they bring flexibility. In the medium size warehouses, orderpickers will still be needed in the upcoming years. In the standard, large warehouses, automation will highly increase.
What he also believes, is that merchandisers won’t store their items in just one place. Therefore, distribution centers won’t grow much bigger than they are at the moment. Companies are going to build smaller warehouses around this ‘super-size’ warehouse, so they can operate easily and give their customers the best service anywhere around the country. The environment around cities will still be their favorite place to build these central warehouses. Not because people that live in cities order more (this is equal to people living in the rural regions) but because there are much more employees available, and they aren’t willing to travel to these rural regions.
The share of e-commerce increases every year with 10-12% percent, according to Dr. Jacobi. This won’t change in the upcoming years. Now, there are 3,5 billion packages in circulation. He expects that this will increase to 4,3 billion in the coming years. The danger is all the traffic that comes with it. Dr. Jacobi expects that cities will occasionally be locked up. Entrepreneurs have to think about solutions to this problem that is likely to occur.
The last topic we spoke about is the so-called ‘returning economy’. Which is a hot topic today. This returning of items is a big expense for companies. Lately, there are many discussions in the media about the quantity of products that are returned. The entrepreneurs want to serve their customers the best they can, so that’s just part of the job nowadays. Dr. Jacobi only see this change, when law will request it. You have to ask for shipping and returning costs, as they did back in the days. Then, people may return to the local shops. Until that moment, people keep buying several sizes of one shoe and in different designs online, because returning them isn’t a problem right now.
We want to thank Dr. Jacobi for his time, the pleasant conversation and the clear story. We’re curious how the issues above will develop in the coming years.