A Special Report from SupplyChain Brain
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Well before “social distancing” became part of the business vernacular during the COVID-19 crisis, savvy supply chain managers were seeking to mitigate risk in the warehouse by putting some distance between workers.
According to Greg Cronin, member of the IAM Robotics Advisory Board, “Greater reliance on automated solutions will be a given from here on out. The pandemic made it clear that humans in this environment make supply chains vulnerable to failure.”
Add to that the consumers desire to be able to place orders for what it wants with as little friction as possible, and automation seems to suddenly become a necessity. IAM Robotics Founder and CTO, Tom Galluzzo, notes “With the impact of COVID-19. Automation for grocer and other long-tail e-commerce businesses look like it has become a must have instead of a nice-to-have.”
Until recently, however, businesses have been challenged to find and keep an adequate workforce that is qualified to maintain the necessary distribution velocity of the long-tail inventory. A robotic labor system, however, may be the solution. Composed of robotic picking technology where robots can function independently or alongside human workers can mitigate risks in the warehouse, while accommodating the long tail strategy.