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New Research Report Names Automation “The Ultimate Future-Proofing Tool”

New Research Report Names Automation “The Ultimate Future-Proofing Tool”

Leading Logistics Operations Reveal Automation Insights for 2021 and Beyond

The automation of warehouses, distribution centers (DCs) and retail stores was already well underway before the pandemic. This trend accelerated significantly in 2020 as companies juggled a yearlong “peak” season for certain essential products, ongoing transportation constraints and a persistent labor shortage.

Remaining profitable while also enhancing fulfillment capabilities in this period of constant uncertainty led many operations to invest in technology, automation and other advanced tools to help them endure the current environment and plan for the future. At the same time, consumer demand for fast delivery and seamless integration between online and in-store experiences shows no sign of letting up, even as the pandemic subsides. As a result, automation has become table stakes for warehouse and DC operators who need to balance a perpetual labor shortage with a massive uptick in e-commerce orders and the need to deliver orders within two days of receipt.

Putting Automation to Work

To dig deeper into how organizations are using automation to deal with immediate and future challenges, Peerless Research Group recently conducted a reader survey on behalf of Supply Chain Management Review for Honeywell Intelligrated. The survey included input from warehouse and DC operations in the chemicals/pharmaceuticals; food, beverage and tobacco; industrial machinery; paper/printing; aerospace; automotive and transportation industries (among others).

This research yielded valuable insights about the current usage and planned adoption of automation and technology in warehouse operations and DCs. It explored how organizations were impacted by COVID-19 and how they’re deploying automation to overcome common business and operational challenges in 2021, including:

  • What percentage of logistics operations are already using automation technology, and how many more are strongly considering making the move
  • Which solutions and tasks are being prioritized for automation
  • Where respondents see the biggest potential for robotic automation options, and which robotic solutions they’re most likely to adopt
  • How COVID-19 has impacted warehouses and DCs, and how they have addressed the challenges it has created
  • The impact of sudden changes on e-commerce, buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) and in-store shopping activities over the last six months
  • How many operations say they are keeping up with surging online orders, and how those who are struggling to do so are adjusting

Future-proofing Fulfillment for a Post-pandemic World

A common theme runs throughout the survey results. From grocers to major e-commerce players to big-box stores, operations of all types are facing unprecedented omnichannel fulfillment complexities that traditional fulfillment strategies simply can’t handle. Flexible automation solutions are enabling many of these companies to offset the negative impacts of the pandemic, improve logistics, and meet ever-changing consumer demands — without adding more staff, expanding, or building new facilities.

To learn how they’re doing it, I encourage you to review the full results of the survey, which have just been published in a detailed research report, Automation: The Ultimate Future-Proofing Tool for Warehouses & DCs. The survey results and other insights are reviewed in detail, with data summarized in clear infographics.

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