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Who drives the supply chain car?

If you were dropped onto this planet and landed at McCormick Place in the heart of Chicago in the middle of March, you would probably conclude that planet Earth had been overrun by robots. Everywhere you turned on the ProMat conference floor, there was a robot lifting something, putting something away, or carrying something to another location.

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This is an excerpt of the original article. It was written for the May-June 2023 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. The full article is available to current subscribers.

May-June 2023

If you were dropped onto this planet and landed at McCormick Place in the heart of Chicago in the middle of March, you would probably conclude that planet Earth had been overrun by robots. Everywhere you turned on the ProMat conference floor, there was a robot lifting something, putting something away, or carrying something to another location. But, despite a conference hall overrun by technology, the on-the-ground reality is a bit different. Not so long ago, commercial real estate firm Prologis estimated the number of facilities with any type of automation at about 10%. But that is changing—quickly. A recent report from JLL found that one-in-two…
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If you were dropped onto this planet and landed at McCormick Place in the heart of Chicago in the middle of March, you would probably conclude that planet Earth had been overrun by robots. Everywhere you turned on the ProMat conference floor, there was a robot lifting something, putting something away, or carrying something to another location.

But, despite a conference hall overrun by technology, the on-the-ground reality is a bit different. Not so long ago, commercial real estate firm Prologis estimated the number of facilities with any type of automation at about 10%. But that is changing—quickly. A recent report from JLL found that one-in-two logistics and industrial occupiers plan to increase their use of automation technologies such as automated storage and retrieval systems by 25% between now and 2030.

“The standard lease term for logistics facilities in the region is generally between three years and five years, which makes it too short to recoup CapEx on many new solutions,” says Peter Guevarra, director of research consultancy for Asia Pacific for JLL, in explaining the slow adoption to date. And yet, this year’s ProMat looked as though it was a robotic takeover.

“Everything has a place,” Ed Romaine, vice president of marketing & business development for Conveyco Technologies, said during his presentation on autonomous mobile robots at ProMat.

But not everyone completely agrees. Thomas Jorgensen, president & CEO of Green Worldwide Shipping, believes that despite the tech advances, people will still drive the supply chain car.

“While societal advancement is largely tied to technological advancement, the true measure of how great the resulting impact is will be anchored in how we integrate that technology into our existing lives and processes as well as how we as a society and community respond and adapt to a new order,” he wrote in a recent Forbes Business Council post.

Jorgensen went on. “Even with all of the benefits of automation, people will drive the future of the T&L industry—not technology. While technology will continue to increase efficiencies and cost savings, it’s going to be the people wielding this technology who will truly shape the trends in the years to come.”

So, while you will continue to see great advancements in technology, remember that the future will not be possible without the people that are driving the future.

Many of those people will be on hand when Peerless Media hosts its NextGen Supply Chain Conference on Oct. 16-18 at the Chicago Athletic Association in Chicago. Featuring top executives highlighting current and coming supply chain technologies and processes, the show is a must attend.


Register at nextgensupplychainconference.com or go to scmr.com and click the “events” tab. I look forward to seeing you there.

 

SC
MR

Sorry, but your login has failed. Please recheck your login information and resubmit. If your subscription has expired, renew here.

From the May-June 2023 edition of Supply Chain Management Review.

May-June 2023

If you were dropped onto this planet and landed at McCormick Place in the heart of Chicago in the middle of March, you would probably conclude that planet Earth had been overrun by robots. Everywhere you turned on the…
Browse this issue archive.
Access your online digital edition.
Download a PDF file of the May-June 2023 issue.

If you were dropped onto this planet and landed at McCormick Place in the heart of Chicago in the middle of March, you would probably conclude that planet Earth had been overrun by robots. Everywhere you turned on the ProMat conference floor, there was a robot lifting something, putting something away, or carrying something to another location.

But, despite a conference hall overrun by technology, the on-the-ground reality is a bit different. Not so long ago, commercial real estate firm Prologis estimated the number of facilities with any type of automation at about 10%. But that is changing—quickly. A recent report from JLL found that one-in-two logistics and industrial occupiers plan to increase their use of automation technologies such as automated storage and retrieval systems by 25% between now and 2030.

“The standard lease term for logistics facilities in the region is generally between three years and five years, which makes it too short to recoup CapEx on many new solutions,” says Peter Guevarra, director of research consultancy for Asia Pacific for JLL, in explaining the slow adoption to date. And yet, this year’s ProMat looked as though it was a robotic takeover.

“Everything has a place,” Ed Romaine, vice president of marketing & business development for Conveyco Technologies, said during his presentation on autonomous mobile robots at ProMat.

But not everyone completely agrees. Thomas Jorgensen, president & CEO of Green Worldwide Shipping, believes that despite the tech advances, people will still drive the supply chain car.

“While societal advancement is largely tied to technological advancement, the true measure of how great the resulting impact is will be anchored in how we integrate that technology into our existing lives and processes as well as how we as a society and community respond and adapt to a new order,” he wrote in a recent Forbes Business Council post.

Jorgensen went on. “Even with all of the benefits of automation, people will drive the future of the T&L industry—not technology. While technology will continue to increase efficiencies and cost savings, it’s going to be the people wielding this technology who will truly shape the trends in the years to come.”

So, while you will continue to see great advancements in technology, remember that the future will not be possible without the people that are driving the future.

Many of those people will be on hand when Peerless Media hosts its NextGen Supply Chain Conference on Oct. 16-18 at the Chicago Athletic Association in Chicago. Featuring top executives highlighting current and coming supply chain technologies and processes, the show is a must attend.


Register at nextgensupplychainconference.com or go to scmr.com and click the “events” tab. I look forward to seeing you there.

SC
MR

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About the Author

Brian Straight, SCMR Editor in Chief
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Brian Straight is the Editor in Chief of Supply Chain Management Review. He has covered trucking, logistics and the broader supply chain for more than 15 years. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children. He can be reached at [email protected], @TruckingTalk, on LinkedIn, or by phone at 774-440-3870.

View Brian's author profile.

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