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Editor’s Note: This is the first of two articles about the Materials Handling Institute’s upcoming report on industry trends. The second article will be published Friday, November 15.

Forecasting the future of the materials handling industry, an industry trade group recently unveiled what it believes will be the 10 guiding trends of the next decade.LEED Certification

The Materials Handling Institute, formerly known as the Materials handling Industry Association, compiled its prognostications in a new report entitled, “US Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics“. A draft version of the report was issued in March and roundtable discussions were with leading industry experts and leaders have been scheduled to be held throughout the US in the spring. A final version of the report will be released in early 2014.

According to the draft document, the first six materials handling industry trends that will be most influential in the coming decade are:

1. The Growth of E-Commerce — An increasing number of consumers are turning to the Internet as the primary source of products and services. Consequently, companies that specialize e-Commerce are expected to show rapid growth. But they also will grapple with distribution and order fulfillment issues as they adapt to provide innovations like same day delivery and delivery to whatever location the customer is using their smart phone, rather than a home or business.

2. Relentless Competition — The market for materials handling and logistics is growing, so the number of players is expected to increase as well. This will mean fiercer competition as market forces determine the industry’s winners and losers. This is good news for consumers, however, because it will drive costs down and service quality up.

3. Mass Personalization — Technological advancements allow retailers and manufacturers to collect and analyze more information about their customers than ever before. During the coming decade, they will  use this data to customize marketing through multi-channel sources.

4. Urbanization — Urban flight has now reversed itself and more people are moving back into city centers all over the globe. If this trend continues, it may make delivery and logistics more challenging due to congestion and shrinking delivery time expectations.

5. Mobile and Wearable Computing — If you think consumers are connected to the Internet now due to the near universality of mobile devices, wait until wearable computing such as Google Glass and other products start to become popular. This type of technology will only make connectivity more immediate and constant.

6. Advances in Technology — Practically every aspect of the materials handling industry is expected to be profoundly impacted by rapidly developing technologies such as robotics and supply chain enhancements. Driverless trucks, self-flying cargo planes and the widespread use of robotic materials handlers in warehouses and manufacturing are only a few of the expected changes.

The remaining four trends will be examined in the second article of this series.

At Bahrns, we are committed to providing our customers with the latest in products, information and trends that will set them up for success during the coming decade and beyond. That’s why we source only the highest quality products and use only the most reputable vendors.

It’s our genuine hope that we can continue to partner with you in the future to guarantee continued sustained growth and prosperity.




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