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Materials Handling Megatrends, Part 2

15 Nov 2013

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Editor’s Note: This is second of two articles about the Materials Handling Institute’s upcoming report on industry trends. The first part was published Wednesday, November 13.

The Materials Handling Institute, formerly known as the Materials handling Industry Association, has compiled a report entitled, “US Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics” which outlines the trade organizations expectations for the ten biggest “Megatrends” during the next decade.

Although the final report won’t be released until early 2014, a draft report revealed the ten anticipated trends in the materials handling industry. The first six were discussed in an earlier article. Here are the final four trends:


7. Sensors and the Internet of Things — By the year 2025, sensors that are built into products will have the ability to connect automatically with the Internet without any human intervention. This will allow continuous feedback loops that can solve problems and anticipate delays in real time.

8. Big Data and Predictive Analysis — Data from social media, sensors and other emerging technologies will provide a massive amount of information that can be mined for insights and actionable intelligence. Sharing of data and analytics across various resources will make the industry more responsive than ever to customers wants and needs.

9. The Changing Workplace — The trend away from traditional manufacturing jobs, the aging workforce and globalization will continue, resulting in a need for an increased investment in training and the development of new labor pools such as veterans and the disabled.

10. Sustainability — The concern for the environmental consequences and issues that concern the health of the planet aren’t going to fade away. If anything, they are going to intensify during the coming decade. Companies that make a genuine effort toward sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint will be rewarded with consumer loyalty as well as the satisfaction of having helped make the world a better place.

The MHI report also identified two paths for logistics during the coming decade. The first is high-speed, high-value logistics as embodied in the pressure for e-Commerce to minimize delivery times in order provide customers with orders as quickly as possible.

This is expected to result in an increased investment in “visibility capabilities”, which includes such things as the widespread use of global positioning technology, sharing of data through the Cloud and other data transfer protocols, and technologies to predict more precise arrival times.

The second path was identified as low-cost, low-impact logistics. This will manifest itself in greater levels of collaboration between trading partners to drive down cost and reduce environmental impact of production, distribution and consumption. Among the shared resources will be transportation and warehousing.

Finally, the report predicted the expansion of robotic order picking, high-speed automated trailer loading and unloading, and developments in AS/RS to improve flexibility.

At Bahrns, we are extremely proud to provide the finest customer service and the highest quality products from the most reputable vendors in the materials handling industry. We look forward to continuing our relationship with you and all of our valued customers for the next decade and for many more  to come.


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