Robotics in Logistics: Whitepaper Download

by Shahroze Husain | 11/28/2016

In a recent VDC View that is now available for public download, we highlight some of the major robotics solutions including ASRS systems, robotic picking solutions, AGVs and delivery drones overhauling the warehouse and delivery space today and what to expect going forward.

Modern day robotics have broken away from manufacturing assembly line and are set to take the warehouse operations and logistics space by storm. With the increasing need to streamline processes both within and outside the four walls of the warehouse, organizations are looking towards new robotics technologies to support their daily operations. The warehouse and distribution environment is changing: facilities are growing larger, the required workforce is increasing, and the number of SKUs that have to be managed has spiked. As a result, companies are seeking new ways to optimize their operations with companies like Amazon, Nike, Tesco, Walmart, and UPS piloting or having adopted robotics solutions for automated storage, picking, and transportation. Robotic technologies such as automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), automated guided vehicles (AGVs), picking robotics and delivery drones are being deployed to meet higher expectations for order fulfillment, cost, material handling, and employee turnover.

While the opportunity for higher automation has been there, it is now picking up steam. Within the four walls, organizations are facing significant pressures to optimize operations as the complexity of processes increase. VDC’s 2016 survey of major-decision makers in the warehouse and logistics industry highlighted the need for on time shipments, reducing cost of errors, perfecting order rate, and improving storage utilization as the leading primary initiatives for 2016 to deal with the growing challenges in the industry. Similarly, expenses from growing warehouse operations and labor forces are pushing companies towards automation.

With improvements in spatial optimization and efficiency in the warehouse and distribution centers, companies are in dire need of solutions to last mile delivery challenges and expenses. Several companies like Amazon, Google, Matternet, and Starship Technologies are researching and developing drone based delivery solutions to reduce costs and increase delivery speed and tracking capabilities for end users. 
Robotics solutions have the potential to entirely change how warehouses, distribution centers, and delivery processes operate today and going forward. Due to newness of these technologies, several critical questions need answering:

  • What challenges are robotic solutions addressing today?
  • Are delivery drones a realistic solution to last mile delivery?
  • What technologies are contributing to robotics innovations?
  • What are the current market drivers and barriers for investment in robotics?

We investigate these questions in greater detail in our whitepaper entitled: “Robotics in Logistics - Solutions Transforming the Warehouse And the Last Mile”. Download the full whitepaper here

(written with Sean Kennedy, Research Assistant)


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