Modex 2022 was an eye-opening experience this year. With Covid impacting the ability to have the conference in person last year, made it even more evident of how much the supply chain industry is evolving. We wanted to share our main takeaways from Modex 2022 from a non-vendor, robotics, and automation standpoint.
One of the most noticeable aspects in which the Modex conference has evolved, was the sheer number of robotics vendors and implementers. For potential clients, this can be very overwhelming. There were companies you may have heard of companies that had just started in the space, and companies that are innovating pre-existing technologies. Everyone is pitching why their technology is the best, or the most efficient, but how do you really know? The answer: detailed research and studies on each company and their technologies. However, when a client is looking for a solution, there are many factors that weigh into this decision. Time, being one factor that may sway a client’s decision in a multitude of ways, is one of the most important ones to us. Not all companies have the time, or the resources that can dedicate their days to looking into each and every one of these companies to see which is the best fit for their goals. We have a dedicated department to follow along with these technologies as they grown in an emerging market, taking away from the stress, time, and resources needed to make the best decision.
Not only are there an overwhelming number of vendors out there now, but to keep up with the market, these companies are also expanding their pre-existing technologies to address other warehouse opportunities. Whether they are building on new functionality of pre-existing technologies or starting from scratch to innovate a new technology; it is a lot to follow. We have seen so much growth in the robotics industry with the number of vendors and technologies over the past 2-5 years. As a result, we should end up seeing different companies creating new strategies to separate them from the crowd. Whether this is an evolution of new and innovative technologies, reduced costs, or stunning numbers that will draw any business in, an evolution is in the works. One big move that some companies are striving for are full solution fleets. Meaning that they can provide a piece of technology for all functionalities within the warehouse. This is an interesting aspect to this evolution since it brings the idea of convenience and compatibility to the table. We are monitoring these trends and staying on top of where we see the value in the new directions being taken.
Building on top of the growth of companies pre-existing technologies, the functionality of AMRs has also evolved. Coming from AGVs to AMRs was a big stride; however, seeing all the functions that an AMR is now capable of is astonishing. Some of the most common functions of AMRs that we are seeing are sortation, transportation, Goods-to-Person, and sanitation. The disruption of the pandemic sparked the need for sanitation AMRs and we can only imagine what other creative and innovative ways we will see AMRs be used in the future.
One of my favorite takeaways coming out of Modex 2022 was the creativity of hybrid solution approaches. Although we have seen multiple hybrid approaches in the past, seeing how some companies are making sue of multiple technologies to accomplish one goal was amazing. Obviously, these solutions are not a one-size fits all methodology, but it does give some examples of how these technologies can be used. Arms with AMRs and Piece Pick Arms with Goods-to-Person fulfillment were two of the most innovative and use case specific hybrid approaches we had seen. There are countless more, however, this has shown us how impactful our integration work is becoming. With fixed and flexible technologies, making the right use case and utilization of the technologies is going to become more and more important overtime.
While talking with countless different companies and individuals, we learned that there are very few companies who will take on integrations with pre-existing client WMSs in use. Robotics vendors are focused on their technologies and softwares, while the software companies are typically focused on improving and growing their technologies. This leaves some clients who have limited technical resources faced with a challenge to implement new technologies. Having a reliable and trustworthy industry professional with broad knowledge of the robotic technologies and WMS implementation and optimization experience is key.
All that being said, Modex was a great experience, provided a lot of new and expanded viewpoints, showed off some innovative technologies, and gave us a lot to discuss with vendors, clients, and you.
If you want to discuss some of our findings from Modex 2022 in more detail or have questions about what robotic and automation solutions are right for you, our team of industry experts are ready to help. Whether you need assistance for selecting the right solution, integrating with your pre-existing WMS, or just want to discuss some challenges and find out more about robotics, email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributor: Chad Markowitz, Manager, Robotics at Bricz