By YonBee Yang | February 4, 2021
Over the past year, robotics and automation have proven to the world they are not just a trend in supply chain. In fact, warehouse automation is now commonplace in the industry and providers have shown that they are here to stay. Retailers and distributors are adopting these technologies at a growing rate, and with a continuous increase in investment, the technology will continue to improve yielding even greater results on top of a reduction in labor and an increase in inventory accuracy. Currently, leading automation organizations are receiving large investments and attention in the market by acquiring growing firms, while start-up companies are either rapidly receiving investments or being acquired by larger players in the game. According to Logistics IQ, the warehouse automation market is expected to be valued at $30B by 2026.
The ongoing pandemic has played a significant role in the acceleration of automation adoption in warehouses, but the ball was rolling long before. Here are some of the following acquisitions that took place before January 2020:
- Amazon acquired KIVA Systems
- KION Group acquired Dematic
- Toyota acquired Bastian
- Honeywell acquired Intelligrated
- Shopify acquired 6 River Systems
As you can see, these are some of the largest players buying up the top providers in the automation landscape. The world pandemic and its great demands shined a spotlight on the supply chain industry, giving end consumers more insight and exposure than ever before. The growth of e-commerce was rising before the pandemic, but now the gates have flung wide open and companies are struggling to keep up with the volume. The rapid growth of e-commerce, omni-channel and same to next day delivery is the driving force behind the success and expansion of the warehouse automation market.
The main areas of investment in the automation landscape are ASRS (Automated Storage and Retrieval System) and AGV/AMR (Automated Guided Vehicle/Autonomous Mobile Robot). Both solutions can make a huge impact in picking operations to keep up with growing e-commerce fulfillment. ASRS receives most of its attention from large retail players with the resources to support such a capital investment, whereas AGV/AMR solutions are preferred by midlevel companies with smaller facilities. Per Logistics IQ, the AGV/AMR market is expected to reach $5B by 2026. AGV/AMR solutions have proven to provide value in multiple use cases within a warehouse. There are various other warehouse automation solutions such as cobots which work alongside humans to augment picking operations, and goods to person (G2P) solutions which are rapidly being adopted into warehouses to support the current increase in e-commerce demand. With multiple types of warehouse automation solutions available, it is important to strategically evaluate these solutions before purchasing while taking into consideration the overall business impact and the best fit for your operation.
The warehouse automation landscape is substantial and there are many credible solutions with experienced providers, but the market is growing, and start-ups are rapidly emerging, introducing new technology, so it is incredibility important to partner with a company who has experience in the industry. It is also critical to perform due diligence before partnering with a solutions provider. Here at Bricz, we provide value by helping our clients navigate these waters to select the right solution from the right provider. Bricz offers Warehouse Robotics services from discovery and advisory to implementation. The era of warehouse automation is now, so partner up with Bricz today to stay up to date on all solution developments.
Contributor: Josh Monski, Supply Chain Consultant at Bricz