The coming Age of Autonomy: How robotics will reshape the future of logistics

CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly | December 18, 2018

The coming Age of Autonomy: How robotics will reshape the future of logistics
We have long awaited the introduction of robotics into the supply chain. So long, in fact, that some people began to believe that autonomous vehicles and robots would never be anything more than a science fiction-style experiment. But that was because, until recently, robots were stationary, simple-functioning, expensive, blind, and relatively unintelligent. Today, thanks to the convergence of machine learning and artificial intelligence, big data, mobility, and advanced sensors, the autonomous revolution is on the horizon. The robots of the future will be smarter, lighter, and easier to program. They will also be more flexible and affordable. Indeed, it's no longer a matter of "if" robots will be operating delivery vehicles, distribution centers, and factories but "when." The scenario shown in Figure 1, where robots and autonomous vehicles play a role in virtually every step in the supply chain, from the field to the final consumer, is no longer far-fetched. Each discrete component of this scenario is already being created and tested; it will not be long before they are connected, and a fully autonomous, end-to-end supply chain becomes a reality.

Spotlight

Today we’re back with another Fast Freight Five! We are at the start of the new year and that means taking a look at what the rest of the year holds. That’s why today, on Fast Freight Five, we’ll give you the top 5 trends to know in the Logistics market for 2019! So let’s give you 5 things, real Fast!


Other News

Schneider Electric Global Supply Chain recognized with 2020 Power of the Profession Award

Schneider Electric | July 07, 2020

Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, announced it has been awarded the Business Win of the Year Award and best in show Supply Chain Breakthrough of the Year in Gartner’s 2020 Power of the Profession awards which “identify and recognize the top Supply Chain and Talent initiatives from the past twelve months that help to elevate the Supply Chain profession.” Gartner announced these awards during a live webinar June 17, 2020. "We are thrilled to have received this recognition of Business Win of the Year and Supply Chain Breakthrough of the Year from Gartner’s 2020 Power of the Profession Awards honoring our Smart Logistics initiative. We believe our transformation efforts in the supply chain are progressing well and that this really gives our team the inspiration to push forward on our Tailored, Sustainable and Connected 4.0 Supply Chain program, together with our partners for our customers. We see the “Business Win of the Year” award as a recognition of our digital transformation and our commitment to our customers", said Mourad Tamoud, Executive Vice President, Schneider Electric Global Supply Chain.

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Collaborative warehouse bots are critical to e-commerce success, Shopify exec says

6 River Systems | September 16, 2020

A spike in e-commerce volumes driven by coronavirus travel restrictions may slow down after a safe vaccine is eventually found, but its impact on fulfillment automation processes is here to stay, according to a top executive at Shopify, an e-commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). As the pandemic prevented consumers from congregating in brick and mortar stores, so many of them turned to e-commerce shopping that the online retail sector experienced five years’ worth of growth in the past three months alone, Shopify’s chief technology officer, Jean-Michel Lemieux, said today. From less than 1% in 2000, the share of e-commerce retail sales as a percent of total retail sales rose to 5% in 2011 and 10% in 2018 before leaping above 16% during the second quarter of 2020, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. That curve may soon begin to flatten a bit, but the post-Covid “new normal” will feature e-commerce levels in the range of 20%, 30%, or even 40% of all retail, Lemieux said in remarks at Flow 2020, the annual user conference held by autonomous mobile robot (AMR) vendor 6 River Systems. Ottawa, Ontario-based Shopify acquired Waltham, Massachusetts-based 6 River in 2019 for $450 million in a bid to use its collaborative "Chuck" robots to boost fulfillment efficiency for warehouse staffers managing inventory for distribution. That deal looked at first like amazon.com's move to buy Kiva Systems Inc. in 2012 for $775 million, and then take the product off the market, keeping its robots for the sole use of Amazon’s own DCs. But Shopify was quick to say that it will continue selling 6 River’s Chuck bots to the entire logistics market, and Lemieux reiterated that stance today.

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Adoption of the Internet of Robotics Things Accelerates

6 River Systems | September 29, 2020

Adoption of smart robotics has accelerated this year, driving sophisticated automation in various environments. Introducing Internet of Things (IoT) functionality to robots isn’t new, however. In 2014, ABI Research introduced the concept of the Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT). The term described intelligent devices that can monitor events going on around them, integrate various sensor data types, use local and distributed intelligence to determine the best courses of action before manipulating or controlling physical objects. In September 2016, MarketsandMarkets released a report estimating that the IoRT market will be valued at approximately $21.44 billion by 2022, driven by adoption in the e-commerce industry. Connected robots can integrate with various technologies and offer a short payback period and ROI, the report noted.

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6 River Systems upgrades its robotic fulfillment solution

6 River Systems | September 25, 2020

6 River Systems has made a series of enhancements to its robotic fulfillment solution. 6 River, part of e-commerce platform provider Shopify, revealed the upgrade during its second annual user conference, FLOW 2020. David Vallance, director of product at 6 River Systems, says: “We have developed a strategic product roadmap at 6RS to find and address the next level of efficiencies to help our customers meet ever-changing demand and drive value to their own customers. “We’ve grown from providing picking robots to supporting inbound to outbound tasks within the four walls of the warehouse. Our latest set of enhancements are another exciting step forward in the evolution of our company and our industry.” To provide more visibility into operations and increase efficiency, 6RS developed The Bridge, an overarching tool that connects the data from what’s happening on the ground in a physical warehouse operation to an intuitive cloud-based control center. This tool gives customers the ability to fine tune and control each aspect of their operation and optimize their warehouse to meet the unique needs of the business by leveraging the following features:

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Spotlight

Today we’re back with another Fast Freight Five! We are at the start of the new year and that means taking a look at what the rest of the year holds. That’s why today, on Fast Freight Five, we’ll give you the top 5 trends to know in the Logistics market for 2019! So let’s give you 5 things, real Fast!

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