Need more robots involved in the supply chain


Robots, as well as automation technology, are driving the logistics sector to break through, especially since the Covid-19 outbreak.

At Amazon’s warehouse, two robots named “Bert” and “Ernie” are about to appear to join the supply chain. Ernie is responsible for transporting the crates to the staff, helping to ease the access; Bert is responsible for keeping the crates open. According to Interact Analysis, US retail and logistics “giants” are leading the field of warehouse automation – the market is expected to nearly double by 2025, to $68 billion.

Analysts say the persistent shortage of labor and growth in e-commerce has driven automation since the outbreak, making the cost-saving problem an important issue for the competitiveness of logistics enterprises.

Robot làm việc tự động tại nhà kho. Ảnh: Bloomberg
The robot works automatically at the warehouse. Photo: Bloomberg

Automation boosts business continuity, supply chain managers are now investing in technology to ease the pressure on the workforce, said Tom Bianculli, chief technology officer at Zebra Technologies (USA). Meanwhile, Markus Voss, global chief information officer and CEO of DHL Supply Chain shared: “One of the technologies of interest is automated forklifts. Currently, we are lacking a lot of labor in all markets and this problem will last a long time. ”

ABI Research analyst Adhish Luitel said that centers that use robots on the track are growing in revenue strongly. They are also paying attention to integrating all automation and robotics technologies with data to more accurately predict demand and optimize robot usage.

In addition, an essential element to ensure efficient automation is to combine warehouse automation with other links in the supply chain. The 5G technology helps coordinate automated warehouse traffic faster, said Thomas Evans, Chief Technology Officer of Honeywell Robotics.

However, there are barriers to deploying robots in the supply network. Automation has not been synchronized and the cost of expensive technology investment has made it difficult for many businesses. “It’s one thing to think about, business owners are terrified by the prospect of automation because no company knows what they want. Over the past 18 months, I’ve seen a huge change, ”expressed Joe Daft, head of robotics at Wise Robotics.

With the current advanced economies’ ageing population and tighter immigration rules, labor shortage is becoming increasingly prevalent. Locus Robotics CEO Rick Faulk said: “Covid has set a breakthrough for the gig economy to pull workers out of logistics.”

By the Financial Times

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