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Robotic Warehouses, an increasingly Real Futuristic Scenario

In 1961 the first robot to work in a General Motors car factory was sold, transferring parts from one side to the other; Since then the industry has advanced by great strides and the world of logistics is not far behind.

Dreaming of a secure, faster and more productive supply chain is a reality thanks to the robotics technology developed today for warehouse logistics. Different companies have turned their attention and designs to logistics applications that were not previously thought possible in distribution centers, stores or e-commerce businesses.

Robots are proven to improve work productivity, enabling companies to reach and set higher goals in precision and safety. This concept was understood very early by giants like Amazon, Google and DHL, creating a trend in the sector which has been followed by companies like JD.com, who allied with Mujin to carry out the complete robotization of their warehouse in Shanghai, a 200,000 daily order operation operated by robots and 5 maintenance people. DHL, for its part, has 15% of its mechanized distribution centers, where container towing processes and robotic stations for picking tasks are involved.

A study by Forrester determined that e-commerce will present an annual growth of 10% in Europe and America and estimated that this figure will be higher in Asia, where they predict that the Chinese retail market will become the size of France, Germany, Japan, UK and USA combined. For this reason, some governments have started to promote stimuli (the EU will give more than € 2 billion for research in the sector), and they have allocated risk capital investments to large companies such as the case of Fetch Robotics, which received USD $ 23 million in venture capital for the production of robotic arms specialized in picking tasks.

What is new in the industry this 2020?

Robotics will impact all logistics companies regardless of size, with solutions such as autonomous transport vehicles, human-trained robots to support packing and merchandise customization processes, and robots for direct order deliveries, among others. DHL, for example, is betting that its distribution centers operate 24 hours, dispatching multiple waves with daily deliveries to the final customer. This vision also links the connectivity of the robots to the information in the cloud, which will allow them to process data, even from the planning software upon receipt. The North American giant is clear that the advantages of these futuristic distribution centers will offer speed, flexibility, and greater productivity, which translates into better service for end customers, achieving faster delivery at a lower cost. Being an example of innovation for the entire industry.

Maylen Uparela, Customer Support Consultant at Cerca Technology