Archive for Warehousing

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 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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Warehousing and Taxation: The Wayfair Decision

The US Supreme Court Wayfair tax decision is likely to have second-hand effects on warehouse investments. We will see more facilities opened in states with a sales tax, as the tax benefits of remaining out of state have diminished, while fulfillment responsiveness becomes increasingly more important in today’s direct-to-consumer market.

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Amazon’s Fall River Fulfillment Center Tour

As I conduct research on the global warehouse automation market, I hear statements such as “warehouse automation demand from Amazon and other e-commerce behemoths is draining automation providers of available resources and capacity.” Furthermore, Amazon purchased Kiva to capture essentially all of Kiva’s output capacity for its own use. So when I signed up for a tour of Amazon’s fulfillment center in Fall River, MA, I expected to witness large amounts of advanced automation. This […]

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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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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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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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Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) Market Growth Remains Strong, Exceeds Expectations

ARC Advisory Group just published an update to its annual warehouse management systems (WMS) market study. The recent analysis shows that e-commerce continues to exert its influence on WMS market growth. However, there is a notable shift in the market pressures and the profiles of companies purchasing WMS to support their fulfillment operations. For example, pressures from expedited delivery and the subtle shift in demand from soft goods to hard line items, such as grocery, and particularly prominent.

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