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Thoughts, Articles, and Outlooks on the Industry

Are Aging Stacker Cranes Limiting Your AS/RS? Industry Outlook

Are Aging Stacker Cranes Limiting Your AS/RS?

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RSs) are mission-critical systems for many material-handling companies, reducing the costs and increasing efficiencies of routine warehouse tasks. Yet too often, companies rely on aged systems that underperform.  Stacker cranes are central to an AS/RS’s operation, and replacing them bears unique costs and challenges. In addition to the system being offline for upgrades, it can…
Supply Chain as a Service Industry Outlook

Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS) – What It Is and Why You Need It

Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS) is best understood as the division of the supply chain into chunks that can be outsourced to, or accessed by, third parties. It allows companies to scale their supply chains up or down while giving access to variable price structures and resources that would otherwise be hard to find. For smaller companies and startups…
Warehouse Demand at Unprecedented Levels Industry Outlook

Warehouse Demand at Unprecedented Levels Due to Buffer Inventories and Ecommerce

Over the next five years, ecommerce sales are predicted to increase by $1.5 trillion. On its own, this would mean an increase in the demand for warehousing space. But ecommerce requires three times more space than traditional retailers. This, combined with the strategic increase in inventory to buffer against future demand shocks, is creating record-low vacancy rates and record-high leases,…
How to Know if Robotic Palletizing Industry Outlook

How to Know if Robotic Palletizing is Right for You

With robotic palletizers, PeakLogix helps customers reduce the labor associated with palletizing, while increasing the facility’s capacity and consistency. Whether or not your facility can realize these results depends on a number of factors, including your current processes, throughput, and box construction, as well as any special requirements. In a best use-case, robotic palletizers are easily justified. Outside of the…
How to Succeed as an eCommerce Company Industry Outlook

How to Succeed as an eCommerce Company in the New Normal

Global eCommerce has touched nearly every aspect of modern life. No longer a luxury, it has become the single most important strategy for businesses to adopt in order to stay competitive and achieve real success. It is, however, a hugely complex issue that raises many questions and forces difficult decisions. In this article, we look at the global eCommerce market…
AGVs – Maximizing ROI Begins AutomationIndustry Outlook

AGVs – Maximizing ROI Begins with Choosing the Right System

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) make the global supply chain possible, moving material from raw goods, through the production process, and out to the consumer. They are used in a wide variety of industries, from manufacturing and warehousing to medical care and even theme parks. Like most automation, AGVs offer increased accuracies and throughputs compared to a traditional workforce, while reducing…
AGVs – the “Backbone” of Modern Material AutomationIndustry Outlook

AGVs – the “Backbone” of Modern Material Handling

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are wheel-based, autonomous material handlers. They are both versatile and affordable and are used in such a wide variety of industries that MH&L named them the “backbone” of. When considering adding or upgrading automation to existing systems, AGVs have the benefit of quick implementation and little downtime. All automation offers improved throughput and accuracy, and lower…
Meeting the Many Regulations AutomationIndustry Outlook

Meeting the Many Regulations of the Cold Supply Chain

Depending on your source, analysts predict the world’s dependence on cold supply chains will increase by something like 8% or 15% over the next 5-10 years. Regulating the storage and transport of the perishable products in the cold supply chain is a patchwork of laws and agencies created at different levels of government. As well meaning as these agencies are,…
Fundamentals of a Cold Supply Chain AutomationIndustry Outlook

Fundamentals of a Cold Supply Chain

Supply chain logistics is a complex industry, requiring the ordering and tracking of raw goods; the high demands of made-to-order manufacturing; the pressures of same-day shipping of a wide variety of products; and the precision of tailored deliveries to thousands of buyers who demand transparent tracking applications, all done on a global scale in a competitive market. As if all…
Trends in Wholesale Distribution Industry Outlook

Trends in Wholesale Distribution – a New Era in 2021

Acting almost entirely behind the scenes, distributors are nevertheless vital for the success of the entire supply chain. They are a crucial part of the economy as a whole. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way everyone did business and turned traditional ways of working upside-down. Although the future remains uncertain, wholesale distribution is primed to enter a new era. The…
The Need for 1B+ Sq Ft of Warehouse Space, pt 3 Industry Outlook

The Need for 1B+ Sq Ft of Warehouse Space, pt 3: Saving Graces

This is part 3 of a 3-part series. Part 1, Rattled Supply Chains, discusses the inability of Just-In-Time (JIT) logistics to adjust to recent demand shocks. Part 2, Innovated Spaces, discusses the severity of effects multi-channel retailing and the lockdowns of COVID-19 had on brick-and-mortar businesses. In Part 3, Saving Graces, we discuss how the fulfillment industry is adjusting to…
The Need for 1B+ Sq Ft of Warehouse Space, pt 2 Industry Outlook

The Need for 1B+ Sq Ft of Warehouse Space, pt 2: Innovated Spaces

As we discussed in Part 1 of this series, Rattled Supply Chains, the rise of eCommerce has strained a global supply chain that was too focused on Just-in-Time (JIT) logistics. Retailers were left without enough inventory to meet the demand shocks of COVID-19. As supply chains began to normalize later in 2020, retailers also found themselves without enough warehousing space…
The Need for 1B+ Sq Ft of Warehouse Space, pt 1 Industry Outlook

The Need for 1B+ Sq Ft of Warehouse Space, pt 1: Rattled Supply Chains

Before the coronavirus pandemic, online shopping was rising steadily. Adjusting fulfillment strategies to match that pace was a challenging but obtainable goal. The year-over-year growth between 2018 and 2019 of 14.9% was respectable. However, it did not prepare companies, or their supply chains, to meet the 93% growth seen in May of 2020. While the shift toward eCommerce has been…
Preparing for Government Mandated Stockpiling Advanced Equipment

Preparing for Government Mandated Stockpiling of PPE

The first case of the novel coronavirus in the US was reported to the CDC on January 22, 2020. By April, the Strategic National Stockpile was nearly depleted of medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), despite having delivered only a fraction needed by essential workers. Storing and managing the quantity of supplies needed to guard against global or national pandemics is…
Order Fulfillment in a Global Pandemic Industry Outlook

A Contradiction of Needs: Order Fulfillment in a Global Pandemic

Before March, 2020, automation in material handling had been on a slow rise for decades. Serious players were making investments both in infrastructure and research, but in most industries automating was a game of incremental gains. The workforce had been getting the job done, and the pace of automation was largely determined by its ROI when compared against an already…
A Higher Standard for Cleanliness Industry Outlook

Hobart’s CL64T Tote Washer: A Higher Standard for Cleanliness

As industries adjust to the new normal of COVID-19, changes to everyday operations will have to be made. Cleaning and sanitization are now higher on the list of priorities than they ever were before. To that end, we at PeakLogix want to highlight a product from our partners at Hobart that will help keep employees and customers safe. The latest…
Fulfillment’s Next Revolution Industry Outlook

Micro-Distribution: Fulfillment’s Next Revolution

For 25 years, the competition to win e-commerce consumers has driven innovation in distribution. E-tail giants like Amazon and Alibaba have dominated the market by having unmatched throughput, consistency, and timing. They achieved this first through vigorous use of available technology, and later through the creation of technologies that hadn’t existed but were needed. Nevertheless, modern fulfillment is imperfect. Particularly…
Aethon’s AMRs on the Front Lines of COVID-19 Industry Outlook

Aethon’s AMRs on the Front Lines of COVID-19

At a time when COVID-19 is straining the capacity of hospitals the world over, we at PeakLogix wanted to highlight some of the amazing work from one of our partners, Aethon. For more than 15 years, Aethon has developed and produced autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) designed specifically for hospitals. These robots deliver medications, lab specimens, and meals, as well as…
7 Key Factors in Selecting the Right Conveyor Advanced Equipment

7 Key Factors in Selecting the Right Conveyor

Because of their ubiquity across many industries, there are many types of conveyor, each with unique abilities and peripherals. Choosing a conveyor from among all the possible options can seem a herculean task. Modern conveyors do more than move material. They are integral parts of complex material-handling systems. The right system can sort items quickly and efficiently, can buffer those…
What is warehouse automation? Automation

What is warehouse automation?

Warehouse automation by definition Warehouse automation is a broad term encompassing most modern upgrades in a warehouse environment. Robots, autonomous vehicles, and automated storage and retrieval systems are of course ‘automation.’ But so are the systems and software that enable these machines to work, such as ABC inventory management and data management systems. Even people, when enabled by such technologies…
6 Tips and Best Practices for Integrating Warehouse Automation Automation

6 Tips and Best Practices for Integrating Warehouse Automation

Modern warehouses and distribution centers do what warehouses have done for millennia – receive, store, process, and ship goods. For thousands of years, these jobs were done without automation – unless you consider automation to include the wheel and pulley. Still today, warehouses aren’t required to be automated – all of their primary jobs can be done without it. Of…
What are the warehouse automation trends Automation

What are the warehouse automation trends transforming the industry?

Ours is a trying time for technophobes, and for them the future must look bleak. For technophiles, on the other hand, everyday must be like Christmas. The world has embraced computers and automation, and our contact with them is becoming increasingly intimate and subtle. They are in our purses and our pockets, on our wrists, and even in our shoes.…
Balers or Compactors: Deciding Which to Use Operations

Balers or Compactors: Deciding Which to Use

At PeakLogix, many of the integrations we’ve completed over the years have fed corrugated boxes to a baler as part of a facility’s recycling operations. Recently, we were asked if a compactor could achieve the same outcome. In short, compactors are used for disposing of waste, while balers are more appropriate for recycling processes. Here’s a quick summary of the…
The Benefits and Applications of Robotic Palletizers Automation

The Benefits and Applications of Robotic Palletizers

What are robotic palletizers? Robotic palletizing systems automate the process of stacking product onto pallets. They can also be programmed to depalletize – an essential part of many production lines. Robotic palletizers solve some issues that their older counterpart – conventional palletizers – could not. Conventional palletizers have been around for more than half a century. They consist of a…
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems Automation

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems

What is an Automated Storage and Retrieval System? At its most basic, an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (abbreviated AS/RS or ASRS) consists of an automated Storage and Retrieval Machine (SRM), a storage area, and computer controllers that both archive product data and guide the system. AS/RSs date back to the 1960’s and were designed for large and heavy loads.…
Material Handling with Automated Guided Vehicles Automation

Material Handling with Automated Guided Vehicles

What is an automated guided vehicle? Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are, put simply, driverless vehicles used to move material. They can look very much like traditional forklifts, though they may lack a cockpit. Depending on the application, they can also take less traditional shapes. Low-profile AGVs may look like industrial Roombas and move material by jacking up shelving from below.…
Data Management in Distribution Operations Automation

Data Management in Distribution Operations

Data management systems enable all of the complex parts of a warehouse, distribution center, or manufacturer to work together. As important as they are, they are unseen, and perceived as mysterious forces. To understand them, consider an analogy to an ant colony. Ants all have different jobs – hunting, building, and defending the colony, to name a few. Ants perform…
Choosing the Right Storage and Picking Automation Automation

Choosing the Right Storage and Picking Automation

What is storage and picking automation? Too often, order fulfillment facilities and systems aren’t upgraded because of the industry myth that the often publicized and expensive automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RSs) are the only way to automate picking processes in competitive markets. However, warehouse automation can be any upgrade to a paper-based order fulfillment system. Automated picking can mean…
The Efficiencies of Barcoding Automation

The Efficiencies of Barcoding and Tagging

What are barcodes and scanners? Barcode labels and the automation that scans them are not a new invention. Since 1974, when they were first introduced to retail, their use in supermarkets and grocery stores has become universal. If you’ve ever paid attention to the cashier scanning your groceries – or used a self-checkout – then you are already familiar with…
Solving the Automation Puzzle Automation

Solving the Automation Puzzle through Customization

As an integrator of static and automated material handling solutions, making manufacturing and distribution operations more current, effective, and productive is our goal at PeakLogix. Understanding how best to do that for each business demands a customized solution that is tantamount to solving a Soma cube – if all the parts of that cube were constantly moving. Our team starts…
Calculating the ROI of Warehouse Automation Automation

Calculating the ROI of Warehouse Automation

Warehouse Automation, when implemented correctly, has many positive ramifications on distribution center operations, but there needs to be a detailed analysis performed prior to starting the project to understand the financial savings generated by the investment. The project sponsor doesn't want to discover several common budgeting traps after the start of the project, once automation implementation has already begun. Before…
Understanding the Variety of Conveyors Available Advanced Equipment

Understanding the Variety of Conveyors Available for Your Operations

A typical warehouse spends 50% or more of its operational budget in the picking process. When a facility first looks to upgrade their systems, solving inefficiencies here usually offers its best return on investment. One good solution for transporting goods through a warehouse or manufacturing facility – or, in fact, over nearly any distance – is a conveyor system. They…
Retrieval Systems vs. the Amazon Effect Automation

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems vs. the Amazon Effect

Recent years have seen exponential increases in service levels and customer expectations. At the same time, particularly where Amazon has a physical presence, the labor force is shrinking. In a global economy, the Amazon Effect is a global issue and, in most industries, combating the competing needs of increased performance within a decreasing labor pool is paramount. Often, automation is…
Solving a Unique Challenge Automation

Robotic Palletizers: Solving a Unique Challenge

When it comes to robotic palletizers, there are generalists and there are specialists. Generalist machines work through 5 or 6 axes and are able to perform industrial tasks such as welding, bolting, or riveting. In material handling, we find that our clients need their palletizers to be really great at just one thing – palletizing. And that's why we've found…
A Case for Critical Measurement Industry Outlook

Precision in Material Handling: A Case for Critical Measurement

Imagine you're a surgeon. You're in the middle of an operation and need an instrument, but when your nurse reaches for it on your prepackaged surgical tray, it isn't there. Worse yet, imagine being that surgeon's patient. In material handling, doing our jobs well – and with precision – is critical to our customers. We recently talked to Travis Motz,…
Hytrol Conveyor Company Industry Outlook

Hytrol Conveyor Company: An Innovative and Lean Partner

Conveyors were perhaps made famous by Henry Ford, who used them even in his earliest assembly lines. However, they predate the Model T by perhaps as much as 200 years. While their earliest history is lost to time, conveyors have become a staple of material handling because of their efficiency, affordability, and versatility. Part of PeakLogix's mission is to provide…
Customizing Solutions in the AGV Market Automation

Customizing Solutions in the AGV Market

Automation in shipping, warehousing, and material handling is popular for good reason – it's versatile and cost-effective. Automated Guided Vehicles are gaining popularity for the benefits they bring in automated warehouse integrations. We wanted to dive into their potential, so we reached out to Pete Jadwinski, National Sales Manager at America in Motion, a leading supplier of AGV's since 2007.…
RFID: How Technology Reads Itself Advanced Equipment

RFID: How Technology Reads Itself

In our industry discussions tend to range from the low-tech to the high – from racking and shelving to the latest advances in picking technologies and robotics. But we don’t often discuss how those two ends of the spectrum are brought together through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). If the software in your Warehouse Management System (WMS) is considered the brain…
Innovations in Deep Lane Storage Advanced Equipment

Innovations in Deep Lane Storage

If there is one universal challenge in warehouse management and operations, it would be the efficient handling and storage of pallets. With few exceptions, they need to be stored as compactly, and retrieved as quickly and accurately, as possible. One of the best ways to accomplish this is with an automated or semi-automated storage system. Steve Dale has been involved…