The rise of automated systems and robotics has been a major force of transformation in the post-pandemic global economy.
Early on in the pandemic, many attributed the increasing spending on automated solutions to the need to protect the workforce (and consumer) health and safety. Manufacturers and distributors specifically needed to find a way to keep their operation going while simultaneously keeping their workforce safe from COVID-19 exposure.
Companies looked to A.I. and automation for warehouses, grocery stores, call centers, and manufacturing to cope with an increase in e-commerce and a decrease in available workers.
Even with vaccines readily available for COVID-19, the boom in automation and robotic solutions doesn’t seem to be slowing. It’s clear the pandemic is not exclusively driving the continued growth, interest, and investment in robotics, micro-fulfillment, and automated storage solutions.
We explore 4 more factors driving the automation and robotics boom to help you understand how these technologies can assist your organization.
4 Factors Driving the Robotics Boom
1) Surge in Last-Mile Delivery
Consumer behavior was already trending toward same-day delivery prior to the start of the pandemic. Amazon’s ability to turn delivery in 48-hours changed consumer expectations. COVID-19 simply accelerated the consumer interest that already existed in last-mile options. To be proficient in last-mile services, companies (large and small) had to begin increasing their investment in automated options. Fulfillment needed to be quick, accurate, take place at the store-level, or in mini-warehouses.
2) Automated Solutions for Smaller Spaces
The growth in automated storage and retrieval solutions that work in under 5,000 square feet of space has increased interest and demand for smaller to mid-sized businesses. The solutions are more affordable and better integrated with smaller operations, in some cases, there isn’t even a need to purchase a second location for distribution.
3) Labor Crisis
Across the U.S., there is at least one open job for every American seeking work. The U.S. had 10.4 million job openings as of the end of September, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
And, a report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics estimates the U.S. economy is still short 6.2 million jobs. Half of the 11,000 employees recently surveyed by CNBC in October reported their companies are understaffed.
What this all adds up to is an ongoing labor crisis with no visible end in sight. It’s no surprise then that companies are looking for other solutions to fill the gap and find answers in automation.
4) Inflation & Robotics
There are two ways that technology can help reduce production and warehousing costs. One is to add automation or robots to production. The other is by implementing a software system that provides total control of your operation and avoids human errors.
You can delay the price increase as long as possible with cost control actions, but raising prices is inevitable in an inflationary environment. With proper manufacturing software, and warehouse management systems, you have all the variables to decide when, how, and by what proportion to raise prices and do so in a way that positions you better than your competitors.
Looking to Make Your Warehouse Adaptable in 2022?
With McMurray Stern, you can achieve superior supply chain logistics with strategic micro-fulfillment solutions. With our automated solutions for storage and fulfillment, we can increase your efficiency by making the most of the space in your facility while reducing labor costs. We go beyond ASRS to provide high-speed, flexible automation to adapt to your supply chain for 2022 and beyond. Contact us to learn more!