The speed of change, sustainability and customization are three issues currently impacting the supply chain, says Dan Whitnable, director of business development at Hilmot Corp. He explains what these trends mean for the warehousing sector and its customers.
“The biggest supply chain trend that I see is the speed with which things happen,” says Whitnable. This impact of “the Amazon effect” is not news to anyone, but the impact is huge, he says.
Other notable trends that have emerged in recent years are sustainability and customization, he says. “The growth of customization and personalization has forced supply chain professionals to think more like manufacturers at times, he says.
This is good for Hilmot, which is a provider of motorized drive roller conveyor systems mostly used in manufacturing. The major advantages of these systems – a small footprint, easy configurability and the ability to do precision movement of parts, translate well to distribution, says Whitnable. And they also fit with the sustainability trend, using half the energy of conventional conveyors. “These are the attributes we are trying to get across to supply chain professionals, because they are tools that can help solve some of their problems.”
Whitnable notes that typical belted conveyors used in may warehouses cannot accumulate product. “With a motorized drive roller you can accumulate products on belted zones, which gives you the benefit of a roller conveyor and the ability to handle packaging like poly bags and Kraft bags that are becoming more prevalent as shipment size and packaging are reduced.”
Another benefit of drive roller conveyors is that they are significantly quieter than traditional conveyors. “As companies work to retain good employees, they are putting more emphasis on improving the work environment, so low noise is an advantage,” says Whitnable.