The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Day: September 12, 2014

MDM Special Report: Disruptive Technologies: The Future of Distribution

This report, now available in PDF format, is a benefit for MDM Premium subscribers. Simply log-in below to access and download this series of articles. Not a subscriber? Subscribe or purchase online access below.

Articles in this report include:

Introduction: Looking to the Future
This article provides an introduction to the series, examining how distribution executives should think about the potential impacts of these technologies – 3-D printing, augmented reality, robotics and innovations like drones and driverless cars – on their businesses, as well as those of their customers and suppliers.

3-D Printing Drives Supply Chain Shift
The media is talking about 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, more than ever. But adoption of the technology in everyday use is far from widespread. This article examines the role of 3-D printing in manufacturing today and how it might change the supply chain in the future. This article includes: Current applications for 3-D printing; barriers to widespread use of 3-D printing; the potential impact on the supply chain of the future.

Augmented Reality: Bridging the Digital & the Physical
Google Glass is the most visible example of augmented reality, but a business case for the emerging technology is building. According to Gartner research analyst Tuong Huy Nguyen, the technology could be most valuable where workers do not have immediate access to information such as remote sites or in jobs that require one or both hands. While it’s still early, manufacturers are already using augmented reality for factory planning and equipment repair. Applications are also being developed for use in distribution centers for more efficient order-picking and delivery.

The Rise of Robots in Distribution
Industry-watchers say that robotics technology is growing more sophisticated and can increasingly perform a wider range of tasks and collaborate with humans. This article examines the potential impact on distribution operations. This article includes: current applications for robotics; the growth of robotics; the business case for automation.

Behind the Drivers of Driverless Delivery
Of all the technologies explored in MDM’s Disruptive Technologies Special Report, drones and driverless cars are the least close to fruition. The technology is advancing quickly, but many obstacles stand in the way of a practical application for businesses. This article includes: drones in delivery and the warehouse; Carnegie-Mellon professor on the potential for & challenges facing driverless cars; fleet-tracking software.