ProMat 2019 Takeaways

ProMat 2019 is where manufacturing and supply chain innovation comes to life, in person and in action.   

As the trend towards eCommerce and direct-to-consumers continues to increase, so does the attendance and size of ProMat.  This year was a record breaking 45,000 attendees. 

ProMat was the place to see all the current trends and technological advancements in hardware, software, robotics, AI, machine learning, and the automation of manufacturing and warehousing processes.  Which, some are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution…

ProMat was a great way to spend the week with our customers and partners. We also gained valuable insight and takeaways from the show:

  • Everyone was talking about the labor shortage.  We’ve seen this trend building over the past few years, but it is an officially legitimate fear about how to address a problem that will continue to get worse.
  • Everyone is jumping on the labor trend and building a story around how their product / service will improve or address the workforce shortage issue.  In the past years there were always a few sessions geared towards productivity and the workforce. But, this year there were over 20 different sessions focusing on the topic.  A very noticeable increase!
  • Talking with our clients, the looming labor shortage has companies pushing aside traditional and acceptable 2-3-year capital ROI’s for large MHE and automated solutions that sometimes wont pay back for 2-3x’s that duration.  It is hard to imagine that anyone knows what the supply chain will look like in ten years, but companies are taking the plunge on these massive investments. 
  • Goods-to-Person style robots are becoming increasingly popular and affordable.  In 2012, Amazon purchased KIVA securing for itself virtually the entire large-scale robotic logistics market all at once.  There was an almost instant void in the marketplace.  Since then, patents have expired, and companies have built their own versions to compete, and in many cases, exceed the KIVA systems.  These were on full display at ProMat.
  • The Automate Conference, which is full of next generation robots and pure automation, continues to grow.

Final Take…

The ProMat show was a great place to experience new advancements in technology. Many of the companies we spoke with are realizing that their long-term supply chain solution will continue to be a balanced blend of technology and their workforce.  We look forward to seeing how these trends evolve at MODEX next year. 

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Jonathan Huesdash, industry thought-leader and Director at Connors Group, leverages his deep experience both in distribution and consulting to craft innovative workforce management and execution solutions for clients. He can be reached at [email protected]
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