An annual survey by MHI and Deloitte shows that 51% of 900 different supply chain companies agree that robotics and automation have changed the way their companies operate. The Wall Street Journal reports that the technologies have added new fields of network management, cloud computing, and sensors.
Deloitte - on their website - says that people sometimes confuse robots with walking, talking, Transformer-looking helper bots, but in actual fact the robots that supply chain managers now concern themselves with is the computer is "computer coded software, programmes that replace humans performing competitive rules-based tasks and cross-functional and cross-application macros."
Last year only 39% of companies were saying robotics was influencing the way they did things and now that number has escalated.
Gregg Goodner, past president of Hytrol Conveyor Co. told WSJ, "The customer today is demanding their suppliers be able to deliver their product faster. Customers demands are stronger and you've got to be able to meet them, or quite truthfully, you don't play the game."
35% of the companies surveyed say that their supply chains are almost fully robotics. The report indicates that in the next ten years that number will rise to 74%. The report went on to say, "While the vast majority of forwarders agree technology is the future of freight, they see any types of technology as over-hyped. Warehouse robotics are the only innovation that a majority consider will have a profound impact on the industry."
The MHI's report is indicating that automation is improving in terms of technology. They report that safety in design of automation machines and affordability of companies will mean more will be reporting that their supply chains are automated soon.
The MHI says, "In the past, safety barriers and sensors prohibited people from working too near machines - creating a time-consuming process if someone noticed. Now robots aren't just safer, but more sophisticated, with "3D vision and the ability to make the decisions necessary to handle different product types and sizes."