How important is automation to the future of logistics?

Demand for autonomous vehicles is doubling every year. According to consultants Roland Berger,  robotic logistics systems will result in cost reductions by between 20 to 40 percent, and the entry-level cost of automated guided vehicles will fall below 100,000 euros by 2020.

And demand is rising for good reason:

“There is huge interest on the part of customers. Logistics and intralogistics continue to grow worldwide, independent of the business cycle. In many markets, it is becoming harder to find and recruit forklift truck drivers,”

explains Tobias Zierhut, Head of Mobile Automation at KION.

Automation prevents damage caused by driver error. And it makes customers extremely flexible, as they are no longer dependent on fixed infrastructure such as conveyor belts.”

Nevertheless, the market for intralogistics is growing so fast that human employees will not be running out of work anytime soon. But their tasks will be redefined and organized differently. Intralogistics automation is therefore opening up new opportunities in many ways.

Logistics 4.0

In other words, we are well on the way to Logistics 4.0. In the future, man and machine will be co-workers. At the same time, the focus is increasingly on end-to-end warehouse solutions. 

These changes will also influence future career models. Traditional manual labor will be increasingly replaced by challenging mental tasks. Robot coordinators, for instance, will plan and monitor the deployment of machines. Data scientists will analyze and improve complex processes. And forklift truck drivers will coordinate autonomous vehicles. Activities such as put-away and retrieval will be performed fully automatically with the help of intelligent assistance systems.

› So, automation is clearly making rapid and significant inroads, and is one of most important trends in our industry.


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