How to Buy Your First Autonomous Robot

Take a calculated approach to robotics procurement and you’ll stand the best chance of successfully aligning it with your company’s mission, values, and future plans. In Robots in the Supply Chain: The Perfect Employee? Merril Douglas paints a picture of a time in the near future when robots and humans will work side-by-side to help companies gain speed, increase accuracy, cut costs, and handle the grunt work. “We’re sitting in the middle of a perfect storm […]

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Laser Guided Vehicles, a Robotic Solution that Navigates with Precision

Laser guided vehicles (LGVs) area a flexible automated guided vehicle (AGV) solution. LGVs are a more flexible solution than older forms of AGVs that follows markers or wires in the floor or where navigation is based on following a magnet crumb trail. LGVs can move through a facility on multiple paths and the paths can change as needed. This article explains how a “typical” LGV implementation would take and the steps involved.

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This Week in Logistics News (September 8 – 14)

Every acquisition has its growing pains, right? Well, Amazon is seeing that now with its acquisition of Whole Foods as a group of Whole Foods employees are seeking to establish a union for the company’s 85,000+ workers. The group recently wrote a letter to Whole Foods employees citing that they are concerned about the “direction of Whole Foods in an Amazon era.” The letter outlines a few demands, including a $15 minimum wage for all […]

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Best Practices to Improve Your Truckload Service and Price

While shippers face the difficult market conditions of tight capacity and increased consumer demands, they are also being challenged to find transportation cost savings and improve customer satisfaction. As shippers compete for capacity, many are asking what they could be doing to secure the best truckload performance and rates. Why do some shippers receive better service, and which best practices can others learn from them? These are questions we posed to MIT graduate students for […]

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Remember Webvan? They Weren’t Wrong – Just Early

It’s funny how some trends seem to go “full circle.” In 1999, everybody thought they could pick the next big thing. Then after the dot.com bubble burst, it seemed like everybody distanced themselves from their “visionary” pasts. I recall a brief discussion I had around 2002 with a self-described “internet guy.” He commented about the online grocery company Webvan’s business model with the statement “I don’t know what they were thinking – I mean, if you double-bag […]

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NextShift Robotics, An Autonomous Mobile Robot that Optimizes the Picking Process

313 million dollars has been invested in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for use in material handling in the last several years. An autonomous mobile robot is a vehicle that requires no change to a facilities infrastructure to implement and operate. Often, these vehicles are led around a facility and then create a map of the facility that is followed subsequently. There are two types of AMRs. Path AMRs are more flexible forms of automated guided […]

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This Week in Logistics News (September 1 – 7)

And like that, summer is over and the kids are back to school. But this year is a little different, as my daughter has joined her big brother at the elementary school and started kindergarten. For some reason when my son started kindergarten, it didn’t seem like it was as big of a deal to me. Maybe he has always seemed older. Maybe it was his naturally outgoing personality that made it easier. Or maybe […]

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The On-Demand Supply Chain Market

The on-demand supply chain market is experiencing significant interest and growth right now. Within the on-demand supply chain, I am specifically talking about the transportation and warehousing segments, where investment money is pouring in to digital freight matching apps, crowdsourced last miles deliveries, and on-demand warehousing. While these businesses are still in the early stages of development and growth, there is considerable interest as well as questions about the viability of long term success. On-Demand […]

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A Provocative Interview with the CEO of OTTO Motors

The CEO of OTTO Motors, a provider of autonomous mobile vehicles (AMRs), has some provacative ideas about what is occurring in the AMR market. Mr. Rendall also pointed out that the automated guided vehicle market in the U.S. has grown to less than $200 million in thirty years. Bolted to ground warehouse automation has its limitations. “There is a pressing need for flexibility.” 

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This Week in Logistics News (August 25 – 31)

In October 2015, Asteroid 2015 TB145, dubbed the Halloween Asteroid, passed within 302,000 miles (just over 1 lunar distance) of the Earth. The asteroid is an estimated 2,297 feet in width, making it the largest object to pass that close to the Earth since 2006. The asteroid is expected to pass by the earth again just after Halloween this year, but this time will be an estimated 25 million miles from the Earth. What makes […]

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