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Summary: In 2017, Loup Ventures, an AI specialist venture capital firm, reported that the industrial robotics market will swell to USD 46.4 billion by 2025. Then, in 2019, IDC released a report, which mentioned that this market will touch USD 73 billion by 2022. There is no doubt that the age of robots is no more a figment of imagination. They are here and are drastically changing the way logistic companies function across the globe. But analysts struggle to answer the degree to which robots will transform logistics a few years down the line.
1. Robots will free employees from doing trivial and redundant tasks.
The primary purpose of the logistics industry is to move the finished product from the company’s warehouse to the hands of the end-user.
Robots will automate these manual processes and finish them instantly. They will do the heavy lifting and travel long distances allowing employees to focus on more meaningful tasks like solving complex problems and doing manipulations. According to a report by Assembly Magazine, manufacturers could be wasting about USD 90,000 on activities that require collaborative robotics due to insufficient, improper, or non-existent integration of robots into their processes.
There is no doubt that the introduction of robots in logistics will free up employees and provide them more time to focus on mission-critical tasks. Therefore, companies should discover ways of using their employees’ skills and latent knowledge somewhere else instead of letting them go.
2. Robots will achieve human-level of manipulation.
Robots perform repetitive actions very well. For example, picking objects from predefined locations, cutting objects precisely according to the given dimensions, and doing basic manipulations.
Recent developments in robotics have done wonders. Robots are now becoming more efficient, fast, affordable, and gaining human intellectual abilities. For example, recognizing and picking the correct object from a pallet in which, let’s say, few cardboard boxes have fallen comes naturally to a human. But if a robotic arm can do the same thing, it will be a giant leap in the field of robotics.
In her recent interview with Supply Chain Brain, Jim Liefer, former CEO of Kindred Robotics, said that cutting-edge research in robotics will allow it to manipulate physical products. She further added that robots would understand unstructured themes, identify physical objects, pick them up, and place them at a specific location.
So, companies should critically examine cutting-edge research happening in robotics and their expected future outcomes. It would be best to identify their crucial logistic challenges and invest in building robots to solve them quickly and efficiently.
3. Understanding the trade-offs in the robotic business.
Logistics companies should be aware of a significant trade-off between price and complexity in the robotics market. On the one hand, are generic robots that are inexpensive and easier to repurpose. And on the other, are specialist robots that are expensive but highly efficient in performing a specific job.
As more generalist and specialist robotic solutions flood the market for fulfilling the broad range of niche needs, these trade-offs will become more apparent.
Here are a few examples that explain these trade-offs in detail.
Boston Dynamics’ Handle can stack pallets from multiple SKUs alone in a warehouse. Similarly, Locus Robotics’ multi-bot system works along with its human counterparts to double the warehouse productivity.
Fizyr is slower than the two examples mentioned above, but it has developed robotic solutions to pick items in unstructured situations, such as boxes inside a bin.
The trend of using robotics in logistics is increasing rapidly. In 2012, Amazon bought Kiva, a leading logistics robot-making company that allowed Amazon to capture a sizeable share in the logistics market. Recently, Shopify acquired 6 River Systems to increase its dominance in this space.
4. Build an interconnected ecosystem for robots.
Remember that a platoon of robots is far more efficient in accomplishing tasks than individual units operating in a standalone fashion.
According to Innotech Today, diverse enterprise solutions are integrating into one system. It further suggests that the cloud ecosystem is developing rapidly, and robots will gain immensely by becoming a part of this system.
But unfortunately, not much has been achieved in this space. Interoperability in robotics is a hot topic today. Top-notch standards like O-MI should search for ways to enable messaging between Internet of Things (IoT) devices and autonomous vehicles. Modern business management solutions like ERP systems can significantly facilitate the free flow of critical data between robots and humans. These ERP systems can be connected with robots and other industrial machines to gather data instantly and perform actions accordingly.
So, it’s high time that you should invest in a top-notch ERP software like Sage X3. The following features explain why:
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Disclaimer: All the information, views, and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and their respective web sources and in no way reflect the principles, views, or objectives of Sage Software Solutions (P) Ltd.