A discussion about the major themes and challenges that emerged from the recent spring meeting of the MHI Solutions Community, held at Modex 2022 in Atlanta.
MHI’s Solutions Community was created to address trends and challenges that practitioners and material-handling solutions providers are facing now and in the next two years, says Christian Dow, executive vice president of industry leadership and membership with MHI. Membership consists of product end users, consultants, media, academia, original equipment manufacturers, software vendors and integrators. The goal is to “help share the direction for the future,” he says.
Brian Poveromo, director of facilities and maintenance with American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., was especially drawn to the Solutions Community’s spring meeting as an opportunity to foster communications with industry suppliers and end users on critical issues — “to find out that we’re all on the same page, all striving for the same thing.” Automation as a means of augmenting humans in distribution and fulfillment centers was a particular topic of interest at the meeting, the first in-person gathering of the community since 2019.
Satyen Pathak, account executive with Designed Conveyor Systems, LLC, attended the community meeting for the first time. He experienced it as an opportunity to hear from both panelists and attendees from a wide variety of industries, to learn how all of those supply chain partners are working to meet customer demands both now and in the near future.
Dow agrees that the augmentation of human capital took center stage as a topic of current concern. It’s no longer a matter of assessing the return on investment from automated systems, he says — technology has become an essential element in distribution operations. “It’s about the ability to get it done or not get it done,” he says. “There’s no other way.”
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