Author Archive for Steve Banker

A Trucking Firm Installs Cameras To Promote Safety And The Drivers Embrace The Technology? Preposterous!

Drivers have choices. So, it came as a great surprise to me when an executive at Netradyne said that his company’s camera and AI-based analytics system, used to improve driver safety, that is appreciated by truck drivers! In my experience, drivers don’t like Big Brother. I was skeptical. But the story checks out.

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Abercrombie & Fitch Embraces Supply Chain and Omnichannel

Abercrombie & Fitch has struggled. Investments in supply chain agility and omnichannel are a key part of their turnaround strategy. Investing in supply chain speed and efficiency includes improving forecasting in the hard to forecast fashion industry. But they also seek to improve efficiency by “leveraging data analytics to offer the right product at the right time and the right price.”

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Robots With “Hands” that Pick and Pack Delicate Products at Incredible Speeds

Robots with hands that can pick delicate objects would potentially be transformative in distribution if these arms could be attached to mobile robots. But first we have to understand the capabilities of robots with “hands” better. I visited Micron Products to hear about their installation of a robot, really two integrated robots, to automate the process of picking and placing small plastic fasteners into shipping crates. I was interested in learning more about robotic gripper […]

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The Worst and Best in Sustainability: Amazon vs. Dassault Systèmes

The world’s most sustainable company is a supply chain software company – Dassault Systemes. The world’s least? Amazon. Amazon is an incredibly innovative company that has devoted virtually no innovation to improving the sustainability of their supply chain.

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One of the World’s Best Supply Chains

BASF does not get credit for having one of the world’s most intelligently constructed supply chains. They should. Core to their design is what they call the “Verbund” concept. This allows the byproducts from one product to be efficiently used as raw materials in the next.

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

313 million dollars has been invested by venture capital companies in developing autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) solutions in the last several years. ARC’s recent global market study on this market shows it to be a very rapidly growing market. 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 […]

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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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HIROTEC Experiments with Next Generation Robots

Historically, companies looking at a technology solution would put together a detailed business plan, and then only implement the technology if the forecasted financial returns exceeded their return on investment (ROI) target. But more companies are experimenting with next generation robots and other digital technologies, regardless of whether the ROI is there or not. HIROTEC AMERICA, part of the HIROTEC Group, is one such company.

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A Maturity Model for Supply Chain Design

LLamasoft has developed a maturity model related to supply chain design solutions.  As a leading supplier of supply chain design solutions, this is a natural extension for them. Developing a maturity model, however, is not for the faint of heart. The model explicity ties ROI from a design project to the maturity level.

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