Companies are investing in automation technology to improve safety, make better operational decisions, and ease the burden of tight turnaround times.
A recent study published by Honeywell indicates that U.S. businesses will increase automation investments, in an attempt to address the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.
More than half of all businesses surveyed were open to automation, a large increase in several sectors. E-commerce, food and beverage, and logistics sectors were the most willing to invest further.
“The global pandemic caused a sudden and seismic shift in the global supply chain driving distribution centers to embrace remote operations and social distancing work processes,” said Chris Feuell, CMO at Honeywell Intelligrated.
“Recent consumer studies have shown increased online purchases by 28 percent globally. Buy online and in-store pickup is expected to increase by more than 60 percent in 2020.”
Warehouse execution software and order picking, the most popular automation solutions currently on the market, are expected to see more interest. However, cost remains a barrier to entry, potentially blocking smaller businesses from automating their supply chain.
“Consumers want seamless integration between online and in-store shopping, buying and delivery experiences, and companies are adapting by deploying micro-fulfillment strategies, relying on automation solutions to improve speed and accuracy of order processing, fulfillment, and delivery, and to optimize productivity and return on investment,” said Feuell.
Many of these solutions have been built or retrofitted for businesses in the past few months, as technology companies pivot to a pandemic-centric market.
“To ensure successful design and implementation of automation, companies need to partner with an experienced provider who can integrate these technologies to ensure they get the best return on investment possible,” Feuell said.
“Companies are investing in technology to improve employee and customer safety, but these technologies, such as voice-guided solutions, and leveraging data-driven insights to make better operational decisions, are also easing the burden of tight turnaround times and leading to better customer interactions.”