We held the first of our 2020 Signature Series events on January 31st at Humatics in Waltham MA. These events are meant to bring together robotics technologists, company representatives and end users, customers and partners in a particular field to discuss challenges and potential solutions. Future events will include Robotics & Defense and Robotics & Construction.

Our Logistics and Warehousing Executive Briefing brought together top logistics leaders from companies like FedEx, TJX, 6 River Systems, Quiet Logistics, Teradyne, General Motors and Waymo to discuss and learn about new warehousing and logistics trends, technologies, and facility management best practices.

Presenters and the attendees discussed:
• How do other logistics companies approach warehouse management?
• What are some key logistics trends that I need to be aware of?
• How do I build a business case for new technology in my facilities?
• What can I do to increase visibility inside the four walls of my distribution center?

The session was kicked off with a welcome from David Mindell, Co-Founder and CEO of Humatics, and Tom Ryden, Executive Director of MassRobotics.

Mark Scott, Managing Director of Operations at FedEx provided discussion around “Roadmaps and Roadblocks for AMRs in Logistics” and gave great insight into the volume of packages delivered daily and the mechanisms in place supporting these tasks. He discussed areas of opportunity for the AMR industry as FedEx and other logistics firms continue to grow their fleet, highlighting key considerations for logistics facilities as they integrate new robots.. Rylan Hamilton, Co-founder and CEO, of 6 River Systems, provided a Robotic Startup Case Study: How 6 River Systems Grew from startup to $400M Shopify Acquisition. He spoke about 6 River Systems tactics involved in optimizing a facility to meet the needs of your customers

Joe Giordano, Managing Director, Industrials, Automation & Robotics at Cowen (a MassRobotics Partner), summarized their findings in a study conducted over the past year on the Warehouse/Logistics industry. Joe provided some interesting data on current sales volumes and projected growth rates in the field. (The full report can be found here.)  This lead into a panel of experts moderated by Amy Villeneuve, former VP at Amazon Robotics and President & COO of Kiva Systems. Panelists discussed new technologies that are enabling greater efficiency and more collaborative operating models and the reshaping marketplace in ways that are only just beginning to become apparent. The panelists included representatives from all sides of the warehousing and logistics industry: Walter Vahey, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Development, Teradyne, John Santagate, Vice President, Robotics at HighJump and Daniel Theobald, CEO, Vecna Robotics.

Rags Gupta, COO at Humatics, spoke about Microlocation: foundational technology for the next generation warehouse. He described the warehouse itself as a robot with digital, automated elements, people, assets and vehicles that are ever-evolving and adaptive to market changes and customer demands. However, operational efficiency relies on one thing: visibility. If facility managers cannot see what is happening in their facility, they lack the tools to optimize material flow and operations effectively. The solution to enabling the next generation warehouse is microlocation. Humatics is the pioneer of next-generation microlocation technology which provides logistics operators with visibility into mobile asset operations. By providing precise vehicle location data, Humatics enables better insight into how vehicles move and interact with each other, the facility and the assets they carry. Doug Wilmot, VP of Sales, Humatics lead a demonstration of their capabilities in the High-Bay test facility.

The event ended with a social and networking. Thanks to Humatics for hosting and to the participants and attendees.

Here’s an article, “The Greater Boston Warehouse Robotics Cluster”, from Logistics Viewpoints.

To request an invitation for one of our future events email us at info@massrobotics.org.