Innovation: Where we’re at in materials handling

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The “2021 MHI Annual Industry Report,” done in conjunction with Deloitte, opens with a quote from John Paxton, MHI’s CEO: “Supply chain resilience has never been more important,” writes Paxton. “Companies that made investments in digital technologies prior to the pandemic were more prepared and able to adapt, survive and even thrive during this disruption. They will also be ready when the next crisis inevitably hits.” Historically, when it came to the adoption of automation and technology, especially emerging technologies, warehousing and distribution took a wait-and-see approach. The automotive industry, for instance, has been using robotics since GM installed its first pick-and-place robot on the line in 1961. That’s 60 years of robotics utilization. Our industry is just now piloting, and in some case rolling out, piece-picking robots, typically in small pilots.

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