Automation in Logistics and the Future of Work

Automation in Logistics and the Future of Work

Several recent studies have suggested that nearly half of all jobs are susceptible to automation in the next 20 years. Robots and artificial intelligence are poised to displace jobs in various industries, and the logistics industry is highly vulnerable to job loss. Recently notable tech leaders have made statements in regards to how to deal with automation displacing jobs. Bill Gates has argued for a robot tax to recapture money that displaced workers would have paid as income tax. Elon Musk advocates for a universal basic income...

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Amazon's Growing Robot Workforce is 45,000 Strong

Amazon's Growing Robot Workforce is 45,000 Strong

According to a recent report in the Seattle Times, in 2016 Amazon significantly expanded the deployment of Kiva Robots in their fulfillment centers. Amazon acquired Kiva Systems in 2012 and the robots automate the picking and packing process. According to the report, Amazon has 45,000 robots deployed across 20 fulfillment centers which represents a 50% increase over the previous year and a 200% increase since 2014. Since 2014 the human workforce has increased by roughly 100%.

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Logistics Technology Trends That Will Dominate 2017

Logistics Technology Trends That Will Dominate 2017

Making predictions in technology, even just one year out, are generally an exercise in futility, so this really isn't a forecast for 2017, but more a list of trends that I am interested in and keeping my eye on. Technology is rarely released according to plan and surprises can come from many directions. However, it makes sense to keep tabs on what’s coming and it's also great fun to think about what’s coming next. Here's what I will be looking out for in 2017:

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Logistics Startup: FLEXE and Pop-up Warehousing

Logistics Startup: FLEXE and Pop-up Warehousing

Today's innovations from startups could be the source of transformation that shapes the future of logistics. Recent technological innovations have allowed startups to disrupt mature industries in a matter of a few years. Take Uber for example, a car service start up founded in 2009. As of July 2016, there have been more than 2 billion trips on Uber that have bypassed the taxi industry. Are there any start-ups out there that could have this type of impact in Logistics?

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Amazon on the hunt for Warehousing Space in Australia

Amazon on the hunt for Warehousing Space in Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Amazon is looking for warehouse space in Sydney's west.  Reminds me of a great quote from Richard Goyder, Wesfarmer Managing Director, when speaking of the threat Amazon poses to Australia retailers:

 "Amazon will eat all our breakfasts, lunches and dinners"

I couldn't agree more; retailers in Australia should be worried, very worried. According to a recent survey, more than 50% of U.S. online shoppers begin their product searches on Amazon.com which is really bad news for U.S. retailers. I would expect the same results here.

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Pokemon Go is coming to a warehouse near you!

Pokemon Go is coming to a warehouse near you!

The Pokemon Go phenomenon, which has exceeded 500 million downloads worldwide, highlights the possibilities of augmented reality (AR) not just for gaming, but also for use in the supply chain. A good starting point for augmented reality in the supply chain, is in warehouses, and DHL recently announced that they will expand testing of augmented reality in warehouses in Europe and the United States:

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The Robots are Coming

The Robots are Coming

A recent McKinsey and Co. report entitled Where machines could replace humans and where they can’t (yet) looked across industry sectors to determine which jobs could be replaced by machines based on currently demonstrated technologies. f you view this report through the lens of warehousing, many physical activities performed in a warehouse throughout the workday are predictable, making many warehousing jobs highly susceptible to automation...

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