If any aspect of supply chain is innovative and ever-changing, it's warehousing. Kaitlin Peterson, senior director of product marketing at Locus Robotics, discusses exciting trends in the industry.
If any industry is continuing to evolve, it's warehousing, says Peterson. “There's a lot happening in the warehousing industry, especially with labor shortages and the need to preserve capital. Combine not being able to find enough labor for product throughput with not being able to spend as much capital — that's some of the biggest stuff.” And because labor issues aren’t going to go away anytime soon, she says, warehouse operators need more automation and robotics.
Inflationary pressures and continuing development in technology, particularly in robotics, will drive the change in “how we think about warehousing, how we think about automation, and how we think about the future of what it means to drive product from one door out the other.”
The most important development in robotics is interoperability, Peterson says. “That's a fancy way of saying robots working with robots and different robot companies working with each other.” At the moment, no one robotics vendor can supply all solutions.
Different use cases within the warehouse require different specialties, whether it's piece picking, storage or something else. “So what we're starting to see is robotics companies partnering and working together and coming to clients and saying, you can pair this solution with this solution and it makes everything better. I think in the next two to five years in particular, we're going to start to see a lot more of this coopetition within the market. And I think that's going to accelerate consolidation within the market. It's going to accelerate partnerships and accelerate crafting solutions in an ecosystem for the customer.”
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