MHI's ProMat 2023 in review: The premier material handling and logistics conference concluded last week. Our team connected with many ecommerce, manufacturers, and 3PLs to discuss logistics software, trending automation, and more. The clear overarching theme at the event was warehouse robotics, which has seemingly taken over the conference on the showroom floor.
Notable highlights from the event include:
- Extensive warehouse technology trends and technology
- A new StartUp Pavilion, a reserved area on the showroom floor with emerging supply chain tech and innovation showcased
- A Warehousing Education and Research Council panel (WERC Connects) discussing how to build resilient supply chains
- Young Professional Network (YPN) meet and greet, which allowed YPN members who have been meeting virtually to meet in person for the first time
- Female supply chain leaders sessions and a women in supply chain forum
2023 MHI and Deloitte Annual Report
Another major highlight from the event was the unveiling of the MHI's and Deloitte's co-produced annual industry report for 2023, The Responsible Supply Chain: Transparency, Sustainability, and the Case for Business.
The report revealed that over 90% of their survey respondents plan to spend over $1 million on solutions for improved supply chain transparency and sustainability, and 36% plan to spend over $10 million. According to the report's survey results, planned heavy technology investments over the next five years include investment in:
- Inventory and Network Optimization – 87%
- Cloud Computing and Storage – 86%
- Sensors and Automatic Identification – 84%
- Advanced Analytics – 82%
- Wearable and Mobile Technology – 80%
- Robotics and Automation – 78%
- 3D Printing – 75%
- Artificial Intelligence – 73%
- Internet of Things – 68%
- Blockchain – 68%
- Driverless Vehicles and Drones – 66%
Supply chain challenges cited by survey respondents include hiring and retaining qualified workers, the talent shortage, supply chain disruptions, out-of-stock situations, and customer demands. The report shows that investing in technology that improves agility and efficiency while reducing repetitive manual labor can create more rewarding jobs and help with upskilling current employees and attracting new talent.
The report also highlights the increasing pressure on supply chain companies to become more environmentally responsible and sustainable. Nearly half of the survey respondents say they face increased influences to adopt a more sustainable supply chain. The top focus areas for sustainability include electrification, natural resource management, water usage, and the transition to renewables. However, only 23% of respondents have made Scope 3 emissions a top focus of their sustainability efforts.
Hot Topics From ProMat 2023
Other hot topics and recurring themes at ProMat 2023 include discussion on:
- Alternative fuel sources (autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and stationary robotic arms)
- Packing process automation and right-sized packaging
- Platforms that allow customers to use a variety of robotics vendors in their warehouses under one management platform
- Warehouse device and robotics task assignment automation
- Advances in digital twining that allowing facilities to be mapped so inefficiencies can be isolated
- Human-centric, multi-purpose robots made for logistics work (Agility Robotics)
The next ProMat will be in 2025! The next big MHI conference will be MODEX in 2024 in Atlanta. Our team will see you there!
Spotlight on Integrations
If you missed it while at ProMat, check out how one of our high-end ecommerce retailers recently upgraded their shipping operations with an SAP S/4HANA integration. They improved their load tendering and connectivity to their carriers and freight partners while having real-time data feedback to SAP S/4HANA. They also now access powerful freight auditing capabilities. Check out the brief report: