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The State of Materials Handling Automation Virtual Conference

More companies are looking to materials handling automation and technology to improve their processes and lower their operating costs - now it’s time to figure out what solutions will work best for your operation.
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
June 20, 2012

Keynote: State of Materials Handling Automation
Speaker: Modern’s Executive Editor Bob Trebilcock

Something is happening in the world of materials handling automation. Just look at the numbers. While the industry has not yet recovered to its pre-recession peaks, both the conveyor and automatic guided vehicle (AGV) sectors posted impressive year over year growth numbers, while MHIA is anticipating 12% growth in 2012.

What’s behind the interest in materials handling automation? And what might the future of automation look like based on the products and solutions in development today? In this Keynote address, Modern’s Executive Editor Bob Trebilcock will share his findings from recent interviews with ten of the leading automation and integrated systems suppliers and take a deeper look inside:

  • The impact multi-channel retailing is having on the industry overall;
  • The evolution of enabling supply chain software; and
  • The rise of AGVs and automatic storage.


Goods-to-Person Order Fulfillment: The Multi-Channel Retailing Effect
Moderator: Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director, Supply Chain Group
Speaker: Norman E. Saenz, Jr., Senior Vice President, Principal, TranSystems

Direct-to-consumer order fulfillment. Store replenishment. Wholesale distribution. Catalog sales. Television shopping networks. Global distribution. What do they each of those sales channels have in common? Any retailer worth its salt today has to fill orders in all of them, even though each has distinct order profiles, order quantities and inventory requirements.

What’s more, the best retailers are implementing goods-to-person order fulfillment solutions that are flexible enough to pick eaches and cases in one facility. In this session, our panel will look at the emerging world of multi-channel order fulfillment and the goods-to-person solutions—from carousels to multi-shuttles to mobile robots—that are making it possible. Topics will include:

  • The impact multi-channel retailing is having on materials handling operations;
  • How goods-to-person solutions are evolving to meet the multi-channel challenge; and
  • The productivity benefits of goods-to-person solutions.


Software: Results of Modern’s 2012 Software Usage Survey
Speakers: John Hill, Director, St. Onge.

For companies in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, the information about the movement of goods throughout the supply chain is as important as the actual movement of the goods—the tricky part is harnessing all that information to its fullest competitive advantage.

To gain a better understanding of how Modern readers are currently applying supply chain management (SCM) software to gather this data en route to optimizing their warehouse and DC operations, Peerless Research Group (PRG) conducted our 2012 Software Usage Survey in the first quarter of this year—and what we found was pretty surprising. In this session, the market’s foremost technology thought leader, John Hill, will put all the findings into perspective. Topics will include:

  • The evolution of SCM software inside the four walls;
  • How warehouse management systems (WMS) and warehouse control systems (WCS) are managing the release and flow of orders; and
  • A look at the adoption, upgrade and ROI timeline for each of these solutions.


Automation: The Rise of AGVs & AS/RS
Speaker: Troy Donnelly, Project Director, Peach State

Think automatic guided vehicles (AGV) and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are only for big manufacturing plants? Think again. The AGV and AS/RS industries are posting some of their biggest numbers ever as manufacturers and distributors of all sizes are finding applications for these technologies on the shop floor and in the distribution center.

In this session, our panel will look at new developments in the AGV and AS/RS industries that have resulted in equipment that is more flexible and innovative than ever and share case study examples of how these solutions are improving productivity and facility performance. Topics will include:

  • An overview of the latest developments in AGV and AS/RS technology;
  • How AGVs and AS/RS solutions are being applied; and
  • Benefits of implementation and future development forecast.


Don’t Miss "The State of Materials Handling Automation Virtual Conference"
Thursday, June 28, 2012 | 11 AM - 3 PM ET

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


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