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3 Trends Redefining the Material Handling Industry


Any material handling professional understands just how critical a role the industry plays in keeping the global economy healthy and growing. Key industries like manufacturing, construction, agriculture and e-commerce all rely on material handling equipment and solutions to manage the storage and distribution of raw material and finished product.

The material handling industry has seen monumental growth in the past few years. In 2017 the industry was valued at more than $130 billion and the compound annual growth rate is projected at almost 5.5% from 2018 to 2024. Unfortunately, the material handling industry is also in the midst of its very own renaissance era as it works to accommodate new technologies, changing demands and intense market forces. Here are 3 trends that are redefining the material handling industry in 2020.


1. Big Data for Big Decisions

One of the biggest shifts happening in warehouses and supply chains across the country is from mechanical and manual to computer-controlled and automated equipment and systems. A major factor driving this transition is companies collecting and using “Big Data” to make data-driven decisions in real-time.

Big Data is giving manufacturers and distributors unprecedented insight into customer data like preferences and purchase history. This in turn helps them adjust their supply chains to meet changing customer expectations in today’s fast-paced e-commerce world. Big Data will also play a significant role in analyzing production schedules and finding the optimal downtime for maintenance and upgrades. Lastly, Big Data can be leveraged to educate companies when they make decisions like staffing and scheduling.


2. E-commerce Demands Flexibility

E-commerce is one of the fastest growing industries of the 21st century and with a projected growth of 18% in 2020, it shows no signs of slowing down in the midst of the “new normal” we’re seeing during this global pandemic. This growing demand is forcing companies around the world to adjust their supply chains to be more flexible so that their production and logistics can align with market fluctuations.

In response, companies have started investing in technologies and material handling solutions that provide for greater flexibility in day-to-day operations. Things like mobile conveyor that lets you reconfigure your warehouse layout in minutes and other automated solutions can make scaling throughput up and down to match e-commerce needs a breeze. This trend is fully expected to continue as better, more flexible solutions become available and companies continue to provide better customer experiences.


3. Automation is the Future

Automation has played one of — if not the most — critical roles in helping e-commerce businesses scale up to meet exploding consumer demand while not busting their budgets with increased logistics and production costs. It is and will continue to be well into the future the foundation of a flexible supply chain.

Manufacturers and distributors are now looking for material handling solutions like robotic palletizing and depalletizing, automated storage and retrieval, automated guided vehicles, automated printing and labeling systems and more to take care of menial warehouse tasks like packing, unpacking, sorting and loading. This increase in automated solutions has made some jobs redundant, but at the same time has opened the door for many more new and exciting opportunities as the demand for skilled laborers to design, manufacture, maintain and operate these complex systems continues to grow.


CCS is here to help you adjust to changes in the material handling industry.

Companies that prioritize adjusting their operations to match the changes occurring in the material handling industry are going to outperform companies who cling to outdated systems and equipment. If you’re considering updating your warehouse systems or looking into some new material handling solutions to modernize your supply chain, consider CCS as your partner for intelligent automation. We have 40+ years of experience designing, manufacturing and installing top of the line warehouse automation solutions.

If you’re interested in learning more or talking with someone, reach out to Jason Noble at jasonnoble@cartercontrols.com or 301-698-9660 x250 for more information.

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