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Home>Industry Sector>Food & drink>Three fundamental ways we need to think about intralogistics solutions differently in 2021 

Three fundamental ways we need to think about intralogistics solutions differently in 2021 

25 May 2021

Andy Blandford, Dematic Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Northern Europe sets out three key trends that will influence how we deliver intralogistics solutions this year and what that means for customers across the spectrum.

Trend #1: Retail is being reimagined and the future is in e-commerce. Retail was one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic, but some parts of the market were hit harder than others. In Europe according to OECD data, retail sales via e-commerce in April 2020 increased by 30% compared to April 2019, while total retail sales declined by 17.9%. Forecasts predict that these figures will keep growing and reach 22% in 2023.

Traditional retailers are still reeling from the loss and need to make big decisions to ensure survival. Despite this, many businesses in this space have shown remarkable determination and willingness to transform. The pandemic has been a catalyst for change, leading companies to reconsider how they manage their supply chains. 

Customer shopping habits have been permanently altered. Projections show that global e-commerce sales will grow from $2.8 trillion in 2019 to $4.8 trillion by the end of 2021. A robust e-commerce system and investment in warehousing automation is now the minimum requirement for all retail businesses. 

Trend #2: Automation will safeguard against fluctuation in demand. Uncertainty was a constant feature of 2020 and businesses that survived were the ones able to adapt. 

In the coming years, technology will be integral as businesses seek to keep up with ever-changing trends. 

Software will play a central role in providing insight into warehouse trends and giving our customers the ability to handle spikes in demand. This was one of the reasons why Dematic acquired Digital Applications International Limited (DAI), a software company specialised in logistics automation solutions – the software provides retailers with the visibility into their operations so they can forecast changes and adapt to shifting demand.

Trend #3: People will remain at the heart of the supply chain industry. In a year punctuated by isolation, businesses saw how people working as a team became more important than ever. Dematic automation solutions were vital in helping customers promote social distancing and ensure employee safety. 

The pandemic also helped prioritise workplace conditions of their employees. As well as keeping them safe from the risk of infection, supply chain businesses began to recognise the need to invest in making warehousing jobs more ergonomic and comfortable to retain their workforce and thrive in future. 

Dematic has responded by increasing investment into the development of products that support operator ergonomics. We have worked closely with customers to ensure that picking stations are more like office workspaces. Whether that’s creating more space or ensuring better light and ventilation, we want picking stations to reinforce the importance of people, even in a highly automated facility.

Download our automation playbook here to learn more about how we’re responding to recent changes in the industry - https://bit.ly/3uo6tba

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