Warehouse automation and warehousing could push Malaysia toward leading digital transformation in Southeast Asia (SEA), where e-commerce currently leads the sector.

The region’s internet economy is expected to reach $1 trillion in gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2030, with e-commerce one of its strongest pillars. To achieve this, the growth of e-commerce has to match that of the logistics sector. Otherwise, supply chain issues will only bog down the industry.

Warehouses are now hot property in Asia, with the vacancy at around 3%. With warehouses getting busier, the demand for greater efficiency has pushed logistics companies to build tech-managed, next-generation storage spaces. 

Gan Soon Kiat, founder and managing director of Woodtrees, believes that there lies an opportunity for Malaysia. Warehouse automation, the bread and butter of Gan’s company, involves automating repetitive tasks such as warehouse management, and physical automation which uses robotics. As both digital and physical processes solve labor-intensive, time-consuming tasks, workers can focus on higher value tasks, such as quality control.

The first step to achieve this is to modernize legacy systems that would raise the efficiency of logistics processes. Only then can warehouse automation solutions follow. Automation will help streamline the handling of goods, improve inventory accuracy and safety, and reduce human error.

As it stands, warehouse automation solutions are the future of Malaysia, with both local and international perspectives in the pipeline.