ProMat 2019 has come to an end. Our feet are tired from standing in our booth for four days of exhibition to the thousands of ProMat attendees. Our ProMat booth was jammed with new prospects, old friends, industry partners and customers. We had a great time and learned a lot about several new products introduced to the industry that we found interesting.
Here are a list of some of these products we saw at ProMat and lessons learned from colleagues:
- According to the Material Handling Institute’s (MHI) 2019 Annual Industry Report, investment in supply chain technology is predicted to climb by 95% this year. This is due in part to the strong economy, demands for faster fulfillment of e-commerce orders, and labor shortages. The more solutions that can speed throughput and fulfillment, the faster orders can be picked and shipped to end customers.
- The Internet of Things (IoT) in the warehouse is growing in interest as more and more equipment adds sensors. These sensors can measure temperature, vibration, light and other information within the warehouse to help managers make more informed decisions.
- The UNEX SpeedCell was a big hit – and was featured in Modern Materials Handling - https://www.mmh.com/article/unex_manufacturing_exhibits_speedcell. Everybody who visited our booth with the theme, “Save Space. Save Money,” enjoyed having their picture taken next to One Million Dollars!
- Robots are advancing in functionality because of improvements in software, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. There were plenty of examples of new robots at ProMat, especially ones that can be used in distribution operations. Called autonomous mobile robots or AMRs, these robots can move around the distribution center floor retrieving goods for pickers who are putting together orders.
- Lithium batteries are growing in importance and use within distribution centers, in particular in lift trucks because of their high energy density allowing them to power equipment longer. Wireless battery charging will transform the way that industrial lift truck batteries are charged.
- The shortage of talent extends from the dock door to the senior management suite and continues to get worse as baby boomers retire. In one ProMat keynote, Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code, discussed how to attract talented young women to the field to help fill labor shortages.
The next ProMat Conference will be held in 2021. Another material handling show, MODEX 2020, will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, March 9-12, 2020. See you at the show.