Archive for Warehouse Automation

The Innovator’s Dilemma in Today’s AS/RS Market

The innovator’s dilemma is at play in the bin/tote segment of the AS/RS market – today’s proven solutions face the future prospects of fierce competition from a new set of technologies with a promising future.

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The Cutting Edge of Fulfillment Automation

Earlier today I came across a CNBC article about a “secret” logistics summit hosted by Alphabet, the parent company of Google. The reported objective was to “explore potential business models and investment opportunities in the e-commerce space with a focus in logistics and fulfillment.” The article and the meeting that it discusses gives me the impression that logistics is being viewed as a game changing competitive differentiator. I like that! A few weeks ago, I […]

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The Micro-Fulfillment Center Automation Race

Micro-fulfillment center automation is poised for rapid growth. Customer proximity, throughput, responsiveness, and space utilization are critical factors for success. Innovative companies are addressing the micro-fulfillment challenge with cutting-edge technology and process innovations. Front and center is a number of automation technologies that can be categorized as a hybrid of shuttle system and robotic technologies.

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Warehouse Responsiveness Reigns Supreme!

Fulfillment repsonsiveness is the warehouse capability most expected to increase in importance over the next five years, according to the results from our best practices survey of logistics executives. A full 77 percent of respondents expect it to become even more important than it is in today’s fast-paced environment. I attribute this increasing importance to consumer expectations for next day delivery, driven the new “Amazon Effect.”

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The “Soft” Side of Automation Holds the Key to ROI

Material handling equipment (MHE) has been around a long time. But, it’s never been more popular. Companies look to automation now (more than ever) to improve throughput while bridging the labor gaps affecting so many warehouses and industries. Fixed automation such as conveyors, sortation, and storage systems are proven solutions within their respective wheelhouses. Warehouse robotics hold great promise for more complex and variable operational needs. These technologies continue to grow in popularity, broaden their […]

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Google – Your Next Generation Warehouse Control System Provider?

My search for warehouse automation patents uncovered an unlikely assignee, Google. It turns out that Google was awarded a patent in May 2019 for “Dynamically Maintaining a Map of a Fleet of Robotic Devices in an Environment to Facilitate Robotics Action.” The contents of the patent were geared toward use in the warehouse and features the ability to predict future locations of members of a robotics fleet to optimize collaborative tasks.

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The Warehouse Automation Market’s Shifting Competitive Landscape

The warehouse automation market currently exhibits many characteristics that lead me to believe the competitive landscape is on the verge of rapid change. This isn’t typically the case with a mature market. But e-commerce growth, robotics advancements, and international competition have set the stage for an acceleration of change. Market participants that remain complacent are likely to suffer as a result.

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Digital Innovation in the Modern Warehouse

Digital Innovation in the Modern Warehouse was the topic at this session of the 3PL and Supply Chain Summit. Executives from HighJump, SSI Schaefer, and Pepperl+Fuchs provided valuable insights on sensor types and their applications, the synthesis of this data into meaningful, actionable information, and the use of digital technology to drive productivity improvements.

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Status Update: Warehouse Automation Market

The 2018 growth of the global warehouse automation market was a full 2 percent greater than my prior year’s forecast had projected. There weren’t any “big bang” acquisitions (like KION’s acquisition of Dematic in 2016), but there were a number of transactions that expanded the acquirer’s solution set or geographic presence.

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Warehousing in China Displays Distinct Dynamics

The industry dynamics of warehousing in China differ substantially from those in North America and Europe. My discussion with professor Xiande Zhao of CEIBS and his panel at a digital innovation forum organized by CEIBS and Z-Park provided me with the pulse of warehousing in China. The Suning.com insights were particularly informative.

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