Warehouse automation has mostly been taken on by big organizations with deep pockets, but growing accessibility and maturing vendors are allowing solutions to trickle down and grow through the market. According to global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, the global installed base of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) in warehouses will surpass 500,000 by 2030.
“There are now many options to automate a warehouse. Both stationary and mobile automation solutions have continued to expand to new form factors and are becoming more effective as Artificial Intelligence (AI) processing grows,” explains Ryan Wiggin, Supply Chain Management & Logistics Industry Analyst at ABI Research.
After their year in the spotlight with high-profile deployments at large organizations, AMRs from companies like Locus Robotics and inVia Robotics will seep further into the industry and be adopted by more Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The industry has seen a lot of automation at the item and case level but not much at the pallet level. Autonomous forklifts from companies like Balyo, OTTO Motors, and Seegrid are expected to see growing investment with more vendors entering the market.
Wiggin states, “New warehouse building dropped by as much as 35% in 2023 compared to 2022 because of economic headwinds and demand shifts, with the reduction expected to continue into the first half of 2024. As construction picks up later this year, incorporating automation into new builds will be top of mind for organizations.”
Europe could see much weaker growth in new warehouse construction as political pressure hinders new buildings. As a result, investment in automation and space-maximizing infrastructure will be crucial to handle increasing product demand.
“While automation is of key interest, companies should continue to invest heavily in augmenting their manual workers with digital devices and wearables to boost worker experience while introducing automation for basic movement tasks. The most efficient warehouses are those that focus on both areas,” concludes Wiggin.
These findings are from ABI Research’s Smart Warehousing market data report. This report is part of the company’s Supply Chain Management and Logistics research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Market Data spreadsheets comprise deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, service-specific forecasts to provide detailed insight into where opportunities lie.
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