Warehouse robotics for agile flow and demand volatility

It is getting old but I repeat it again, many companies working with e-commerce and e-grocery see their logistics costs increase in an unhealthy manner. Due to the increased pressure on logistics, we also see a labor shortage in many regions.

Due to the above challenges, technological development in logistics is going faster than ever before. Innovation and disruptive are two words that have been synonymous with warehouse logistics many years now.

Traditional automation solutions such as cranes and shuttles are financially expensive and complicated to scale up and impossible to scale down. Often you also need facilities that is designed specifically based on the requirements of an automation solution. Another aspect is the risk of being stuck in a rigid solution that cannot handle peaks such as Christmas or Black Friday and the consequence is that you are stuck in a bottleneck.

If you need warehouse technology that is easy to scale up and agile, robotic technology is the current answer to that. Robotics such as AMR’s is more affordable to a broader array of operations today thanks to advancements in technology and lower costs in advanced components.

When we hear the word robot, most of us think of a machine anchored to the floor and properly fenced in cages to protect human beings. That is not the kind of robots that is interesting for warehouses. We are talking about cobots (collaborative robots) who work in close collaboration with humans thanks to advanced technologies such as AI, lidar / radar, GPS and 5G. We are talking about logistics 4.0, total connectivity with real time monitoring and AI making real time heat maps regarding warehouse flow. Cobots are packed with advanced sensors and vision technology to avoid accidents with humans. They are developed to work close to humans. Thanks to AI and machine learning, the cobots can be versatile and is getting better and better on their tasks over time.

The primary goal with robots is to complement and augment human labor in the warehouse. Development is moving forward and there is coming innovations at a very fast pace. You can find robotics programs at reputable universities such as MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Georgia Tech for example.

The ongoing digital transformation in warehouse logistics market makes a great opportunity for new companies in robotics to create value.  RaaS (Robotics as a Service) is a business model that attracts companies with demand volatility. Robot technology is easy to scale up and agile, you can increase the number of robots when you have peaks in work load. Robotics companies can offer full-service solutions and provide attractive opportunities to build value for warehouses. 

We will for sure see much more robots in warehouse logistics. 

According to Data Bridge Market Research the warehouse robotics market, valued at USD 7.86 billion in 2022, will reach USD 21.43 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 13.36% during the forecast period of 2023 to 2030.


Roberth Karlsson

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