“We see a dramatic increase in collaborative automation”
CO-CEO & CO-FOUNDER, 6 RIVER SYSTEMS
“Specifically, we believe that technologies that drive increased efficiency using existing assets and resources will show stronger growth in the short term”
As the pandemic and supply chain crisis carry into 2022, the adoption of game-changing automation technology used in the supply chain is accelerating. Specifically, we believe that technologies that drive increased efficiency using existing assets and resources will show stronger growth in the short term. We are seeing a dramatic increase in companies turning to collaborative automation (AMR, picking arms, etc). Collaborative robotic solutions are generally fast to deploy (1-4 months), easy to learn (< 1 hr), increase productivity (2-3x over manual), and can scale as the business expands.
The drivers & disruptors for the technology innovations
The demand for consumer driven warehouse activity like D2C and BOPIS/BOPAC (buy online, pick-up in store / at curb) and the continued labor shortage across all functions of the supply chain are the primary drivers for automation. The pandemic has disrupted traditional automation solutions such as conveyor, pick-to-light, pick-to-voice, and cart-based systems. These systems are rigid, require a lot of infrastructure, and months of training to operate proficiently. Modern collaborative robotic systems allow companies to hire less experienced labor and help increase retention of productive associates by easing the physical burden put on employees by reducing training time, walking distances and eliminating the need to push heavy carts. Further, operators do not have the time nor the confidence to wait 12-18+ months for more highly automated infrastructure to be online, and need solutions now while waiting for that capacity to be built out. Operators are placing higher priority on flexibility and resilience over maximum throughput, and retrofitting existing operations with technology provides a near immediate boost in capacity at a significant cost savings.
Aggressive adoption of advanced technologies for staying relevant and competitive
Businesses that have not already invested in technology risk falling behind. Businesses now need to focus on adopting the right combination of software and hardware to automate their operations. While hardware generally delivers significant productivity improvements, the key to a successful deployment is in software and integration. Ensuring that the provider offers a modern architecture on a flexible technology stack is essential. Software ensures the hardware solutions are as efficient as possible over time, allowing for continuous improvement and actionable insights.