The warehousing industry has ramped up its automation efforts considering the increased order volume and labour shortages fueled by the pandemic, says ABI Research in a new study released today.

Findings from the firm revealed that in addition to “technology solutions such as Augmented Reality (AR) powered smart glasses and handheld devices with enhanced capabilities, autonomous, collaborative, and mobile robots are proving to be the most popular and fastest growing productivity enhancing solution in the warehouse workspace.

As a result, worldwide commercial robot revenue in warehouses will have a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 23% from 2021 to 2030 and exceed US$51 billion by 2030.

“Mobile robots are at the heart of the warehouse robotics market and account for most shipments and revenue,” said Adhish Luitel, industry analyst, supply chain management and logistics at ABI Research.

“These robots, made up of Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), are being used to move goods within the warehouse and being integrated within wider automated or manual workflows.”

The report notes that commercially speaking in the warehouse sector, robotics has moved from the early exploration phase to a more mature market in which early adopters are benefitting from live implementations of fully capable technical solutions.

“In addition to robots, warehouse operators should be seeking to combine the value of multiple solutions across the fulfillment workflow to achieve desired results,” said Luitel. “There is also a need for operators to look beyond productivity and assess how technologies affect worker satisfaction and safety, worker comfort, energy consumption, distance traveled, and error rates.

"We can also expect intelligent automation solutions to influence processes across the supply chain. In the future, operators will be venturing further into solutions like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and mobile warehousing." 

The findings are from ABI Research's Modern Fulfillment Trends: Warehouse Robotics, Handheld Devices and Wearables technology analysis report.  It is part of the company's Supply Chain Management & Logistics research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. 

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