Here is a look at some critical new technologies, and how the ARC Advisory Group assesses their maturity.
3-D Printing of Spare Parts
The opportunity to use 3-D printing — more accurately labeled “additive manufacturing” — to print spare parts is widely recognized. In ARC’s conversations with industry insiders, we have come across many companies that have beta projects and are printing a small number of parts, but no company that is doing this at scale. There are a number of challenges associated with scaling additive manufacturing in the supply chain. However, the challenges are not insurmountable. New cloud-based solutions are very promising.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Supply Chain Applications
Artificial intelligence (AI) is hot. Crunchbase reported that over the last year over $4bn in venture capital has been invested in AI firms just in the U.S. Investments in AI and machine learning are key drivers in the ‘arms-race’ between software vendors to achieve differentiation in this space. These technologies are poised to make implementation easier, forecasting better, risk management more proactive, and also ease usability. But in most cases, these new capabilities have not yet been baked into the standard products.
Autonomous Mobile Robots for the Warehouse
When Amazon purchased Kiva Systems in 2012, interest in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for the warehouse soared. Even though these solutions are not yet widely deployed (except at Amazon), they cannot be considered an immature or emerging technology. Amazon has proven they can be used at scale with a solid ROI. And Locus Robotics is proving they are a solid alternative to a looming warehouse labor shortage. But a revolution in robotic automation may be emerging. The combination of mobile robots and picking arms is potentially revolutionary. Rochester Drug Coop has implemented a solution from IAM Robotics with future phases already planned. The Founder of Locus Robotics and the CEO of IAM Robotics will be speaking on this topic at ARC Advisory Group’s Annual Industry Forum in Orlando in February.
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