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The Big Picture: Where Business Meets Materials Handling

Warehouse & DC Virtual Conference - Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011
August 22, 2011

Join Group Editorial Director Michael Levans, Modern Materials Handling (Modern) Executive Editor Bob Trebilcock, and a select team of materials handling analysts, consultants, and practitioners as they share how today’s leading supply chain professionals are leveraging evolving technologies in an effort to reduce handling costs, improve facility operations, and make a positive impact on overall business strategy.

Keynote: Where Does Business Meet Materials Handling
Presented by: Modern’s Executive Editor Bob Trebilcock
Automated materials handling, robotics, warehouse software systems and mobility: These are the themes and technologies shaping materials handling operations in today’s warehouses and distribution centers. In this insightful Keynote address, Modern Materials Handling’s Executive Editor Bob Trebilcock will call on his more than 27 years of materials handling market coverage to offer attendees his “big picture” view in terms of how these technologies and systems are not only improving operations inside the four walls, but are making a significant impact on the overall business strategy of many of today’s savviest manufactures and retailers.

Material Handling Automation’s Evolving Role
Speaker: Bryan Jensen, Vice President/Principal, St. Onge Company
Today, many innovative organizations have moved beyond the thinking that materials handling automation’s main goal is to get more throughput from a smaller labor force. In fact, using labor reduction as a key metric in making the automation decision is slowly losing steam. Instead, savvy organizations are installing new automation systems that are designed to improve broader supply chain activities such as inventory, transportation and—in a significant shift in strategy—labor management. In this session, our panel of analysts and integrators examine the new ways the user community is putting materials handling automation work.
Attendees will better understand:

  • How to best approach and plan an automation system project
  • How to make the case for implementation
  • How to tie automation into broader supply chain activities Evaluating Robotics Inside the Warehouse/DC

Evaluating Robotics Inside the Warehouse/DC
Speaker: Tom Bonkenburg, Director of European Operations, St. Onge Company
It may come as a surprise to many warehouse/DC professionals, but according to the Robotics Industries Association, materials handling is the top application for robots and the market with the most potential for growth. Today, systems integrators are seeing increased opportunity to integrate robotic technology within their solutions as the technology and software has become more reliable, the cost of implementing robotics is now feasible, and solutions have become scalable for use in markets that weren’t properly served in the past. In this session, our panel will discuss the robotic evolution inside the four walls and share how several organizations are currently applying.
Attendees will better understand:

  • The state of robotics in materials handling
  • How to plan a robotics warehouse/DC project
  • The ROI robotics can generate in materials handling operations

How Warehouse Management and Warehouse Control Systems Work Together
Speaker: John Hill, Vice President, TranSystems
In the past, warehouse management systems (WMS) made sure inventory was where it was supposed to be—and in the right quantities—and helped to overseethe fulfillment process. That is certainly true today in conventional warehouses, where WMS providers have expanded beyond the four walls to offer a broader suite of supply chain management solutions. But in automated and semi-automated facilities, warehouse control systems (WCS) are increasingly directing order fulfillment activities, including pick-to-light and voice-directed picking applications. This session will help put the new relationship between WMS and WCS into perspective for the warehouse/DC professionals who are hoping to get more out of their automated materials handling solutions—or who are looking for a new system that can give them greater control of their overall supply chain operations.
Attendees will better understand:

  • The specific dynamics of WMS and WCS
  • The new relationship between WMS and WCS
  • How to tie the systems together for greater control

Mobility’s Impact on Warehouse/DC Management
Speaker: Drew Nathanson, Director of Research Operations, VDC Research
Speaker: David Krebs, Director, Mobile and Wireless Practice, VDC Resarch
Mobility is one hottest marketing trends in supply chain management—and it should come as no surprise that technology providers want to capitalize on the craze. From ruggedized computers, smart phones, apps and scanners, to voice systems, RFID solutions, and the wireless networks and software that tie all the data together, mobile solutions are quickly becoming the foundation on which the new supply chain is built. In this session, our panel will put “mobility” in context in terms of its relationship with warehouse/DC management, dispel any myths concerning what mobility is/is not capable of achieving, and then share several examples of supply chain operations that fully leverage mobility to realize greater organizational benefit.
Attendees will better understand:

  • The latest trends in the mobility market
  • How to assess and implement the right technology
  • The benefits of a truly mobile warehouse/DC

Visit our Supply Chain Virtual Events 2011 for complete coverage and more.

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