Last month, I attended the biennial ProMat trade show in Chicago. ProMat, produced by the trade association MHI, boasts more than 800 exhibitors and largely focuses on material handling equipment, technology, and services for warehouses and distribution centers (DCs). I was there on behalf of our sister publication, DC Velocity, which covers warehousing, material handling, logistics, and transportation. Yet amid the forklifts, conveyors, and other types of machinery, I found much that could—and should—pique the interest of supply chain managers and executives.
Why should someone who lives in the world of inventory management, demand forecasting, and network optimization devote time to learning about material handling equipment? Because that equipment is what makes it possible to implement supply chain strategies. Without efficient warehouses and distribution centers supported by new equipment and technology, all you have is a plan on paper (or a computer screen). And with supply chains undergoing increasingly rapid transformation influenced by disruptive technology, this has become an area you can't afford to ignore.
Here are just a few examples of the intersection of material handling and supply chain strategy from the show:
For more examples, as well as commentary on how this important subject fits into the big supply chain picture, read MHI's Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap report at www.mhlroadmap.org.