Cleaning Tomorrow’s Industry Warehouse:Report: Partner Partner Opinion
Plastic pallets and next-gen supply chain
Warehouse automation is on an upward trend largely due to the rise in e-commerce and
omni-channel retail. Jim Hardisty, Managing Director for Goplasticpallets.com examines
growth predictions for the warehouse automation market and the important role that plastic
pallets play in the ‘next generation’ supply chain.
According to ABI Research, by 2025, 28% of
warehouses will be automated with robots
compared to just 3% in 2018. This is driven largely by
the e-commerce revolution – increased consumer demand
for rapid, accurate and cheap deliveries of online orders.
In recent months, the coronavirus pandemic has also
spurred a surge in warehouse automation. It has allowed
supply chain managers to maintain and increase
production levels, without compromising the safety of
their workers. A survey by Interact Analysis reported that
warehouse automation vendors have seen an increase
in grocery warehouse automation project tenders in the
past two months, as a direct result of Covid-19.
The same survey that interviewed over 40 of the leading
warehouse automation system integrators, suppliers and
end-users, predicted a 98.7% Compound Annual Growth
Rate for piece-picking warehouse robots – a rise made
possible by continuing advances in machine vision,
gripping systems and mobile navigation technology.
Increased adoption of automation in warehouses
presents a strong argument for using plastic pallets;
ones that offer 100% size and strength consistency and
do not have nails or loose component parts that risk
jamming and stalling automated handling systems.
The next generation supply chain
It is not just automation that companies are looking to
invest in moving forwards; the digitisation of the supply
chain has huge growth potential.
In a report by market research firm, LogisticsIQ, it
predicted that the ‘next generation’ supply chain will be
worth over £59 billion by 2030. This encompasses
everything from robotics and automation to artificial
intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), drones and
other digital technology.
Take IoT for example, by the time 2021 arrives it is
predicted that 35 billion IoT devices will be installed
worldwide; that is a phenomenal number of ‘things’
connected to the Internet – everything from home
appliances and voice assistance to vehicle-to-vehicle
communication and robots for surveillance.
According to Swedish IoT market research firm, Berg
Insight, sensor-equipped pallets are predicted to
become increasingly crucial in IoT enabled supply
chains; they have even gone as far as ranking them as
the most promising greenfield IoT opportunity!
Pallet selection is key!
With any form of new technology comes an initial
investment, which means that pallet selection is key.
The strength and durability of a plastic pallet is
unrivalled when compared to wood. In normal handling
and loading scenarios a plastic pallet can last up to 10
years, and sometimes longer.
For those businesses investing in their own pool of
plastic pallets, one concern that often comes up is the
location and dwell time of pallet stock; where slow
returns post-delivery suggest that the pool needs to be
far larger than it actually does.
Of course, closer monitoring of your pallet pool – for
instance using RFID technology – can reduce your pool
size by as much as 20%, demonstrating a real reduction
in your initial investment.