Four Tech Trends in Material Handling This Year

In 2020, the global health crisis has essentially transformed consumer attitudes and behaviors. There has been a significant increase in e-commerce transactions as brick-and-mortar stores remain closed last year due to health directives and social distancing measures. For this reason, key supply chain players had to develop an effective material handling and fulfillment strategy in order to keep up with the booming demands. In line with this, material handling companies also had to leverage various technologies to satisfy the rapidly changing customer preferences.

Here, we are going to discuss four tech trends that you should expect to see in the material handling industry for 2021 and beyond.

IoT Devices

IoT devices, along with 5G, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality have played an important role in reshaping cities, businesses, and economies around the world. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see IoT devices become a key tool in helping material handling companies succeed in a post-pandemic landscape.

IoT devices are made of sensors and data communication technologies that allow objects to be controlled and tracked over a high-speed network. IoT devices are powered by carefully planned PCB layouts that consider the mechanical structure of the material. This allows manufacturers to engineer IoT devices that can effectively and efficiently support coordination and communication across various material handling tools such as retrieval systems, conveyors, and forklifts.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Over the last few decades, supply chain companies have welcomed advances in automation with open arms. However, an increase in demand and the general desire for high quality products have placed material handling facilities under immense pressure today. Because of this, material handling companies had to enhance their RPA capabilities and integrate it with their inventory, sourcing, and operations. In addition, RPA can also be used to increase the efficiency of administrative processes, which allows material handling business leaders to focus on creating effective warehouse management and delivery tactics.

Data Analytics

Understanding how to leverage data can help material handling companies better respond to the needs of the modern supply chain. In fact, tons of organizations are now focused on capturing and consolidating data, which will then be processed by data analysts and scientists to create useful insights. In warehouse management, the insights generated from relevant data can be used to create operational models that will propel material handling companies toward success. Moreover, data has also helped optimize forklift fleet management software, which enhances operator productivity, equipment utilization, and track vehicle impacts.

Sustainable Technologies

The material handling industry has never been known to manage resources in an eco-friendly manner. However, a reputable climate change report has revealed that without transformational changes, the world will experience catastrophic disasters. So despite it being difficult to fulfill standard procedures while balancing operation costs and environment preservation, material handling companies need to move towards sustainability. Thankfully, there are various sustainable technologies that can help material handling organizations mitigate their environmental impact. Such technologies include sustainable energy sources, recycling solutions, intelligent climate and lighting controls, as well as energy-efficient machines. By utilizing sustainable technologies, material handling organizations can reduce the overall environmental impact of the supply chain and make the world a better place to live in.

Written by Aileen Melody Conway
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