- Leah Barrier
The Future of Your Supply Chain is Automation & Robotics
Automation overview – How long before full implementation
How robotics efficiently streamline supply chain production
A heightened level of eagerness surrounds the logistics industry in regards to technological advances with an increased focus on automation. With the surge in ecommerce, distribution challenges are conversely on the rise, all while consumer needs for expedited convenience is becoming a global standard. The general confusion derived from the urgency (or lack thereof) of automated implementation in the supply chain industry stems from the ease with which AI and robotics technology exits in other aspects of general life. Why, then, has there been so many digital barriers restricting and effecting full blown supply chain automation?
Previous robotics have been sub-par; simply unable to adequately complete tasks needed to efficiently assist in supply chain production, particularly in warehouse situations. However, the new generation of automation technologies offers a more comprehensible solution and legitimate substitute to manual labor previously performed by humans. The robots are more user friendly, lighter and more affordable, making them further accessible across the board.
Comprehending the need and use of robotics in logistics has never been the problem. Slow uptake and complete implementation have been greatly affected by other standardized issues. Robotic technology enables a notable increase in productivity and an ability to supplement and work side by side human workers. This paves the way for advancement and increased levels of opportunity. Logistic providers need to look at this as a positive transformation and not as a technological threat.
Planning ahead for the inevitable future is good business. Allowing and creating a process specifically for robotic technology implementation is something that is taking effect industry wide. The enhanced price to overall performance ratio will only exaggerate the acceptance of Artificial Intelligence in 3PL warehouses on a global scale.
“We have already seen how flexible automation can be utilized in warehousing and fulfillment, with collaborative robots equipped with high-resolution cameras, pressure sensors, and self-learning capabilities to assist workers with tasks such as picking, packing and sorting. We have [tested] the robot Effi-BOT in our warehouses, a fully automated trolley that follows pickers through the warehouse and takes care of most of the physical work. The introduction of robotics like Effi-BOT makes moving from single to multi-order picking a more efficient and ergonomic process and helps track complex inventory movements.” [Mark Parsons, Chief Customer Officer, DHL Supply Chain]
The effective businesses of the future will be the ones that adopt and create a process for implementing robotics into their supply chain management systems. The alternative will simply be too slow to keep up.
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