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Trends Explained: Why automation and robotics adoption are rising in the logistics industry

By 2025, an estimated 4 million commercial warehouse robots will be installed in over 50,000 warehouses.


The rise of automation and robotics in the warehouse

By 2025, the landscape of commercial warehouses is expected to undergo a transformative shift with the installation of an estimated 4 million robots in over 50,000 facilities. This impressive statistic represents a remarkable integration of robotics and automation within the warehousing industry, which has been driven by various factors reshaping the global logistics landscape.

What is driving the change?

One of the primary drivers behind this surge in warehouse robots is the phenomenal growth of e-commerce. As more and more consumers turn to online shopping, the pressure on warehouses to handle an increased volume of orders has never been higher. With the advent of e-commerce giants like Amazon and the rising expectations for quick and accurate deliveries, traditional warehouse operations have been challenged to adapt.

The installation of robots in commercial warehouses is primarily aimed at streamlining fulfilment processes. Robots are masters at tasks like picking, packing, and shipping products, allowing warehouses to operate round the clock, dramatically reducing processing times. This not only leads to a quicker turnaround for orders but also significantly cuts down on human error in these repetitive and precise tasks.

Another contributing factor to this automation boom is the ongoing issue of labour shortages. Many regions are experiencing difficulties in hiring and retaining a sufficient workforce for the warehousing industry. This scarcity of labour has driven warehouses to invest in automation as a solution.

The installation of robots in warehouses is also enhancing inventory management. They can navigate through densely packed storage areas and carry out routine inventory checks with precision. This real-time data is crucial for maintaining accurate stock levels and reducing the risk of overstocking or running out of essential products.

With their compact and efficient designs, robots make optimal use of available storage space. Digital twins are a prime example of how technology has been harnessed to optimise warehouse space. These are real-time virtual representations of a physical asset, system or process that exists in the real world, in the warehouse for example, the movement of goods, from inbound to outbound, is recorded digitally and visualisable on a software.

Warehouse robots contribute to improved workplace safety. They handle tasks that might be physically strenuous or dangerous for human workers, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. They are also equipped with advanced safety features such as obstacle detection and collision avoidance systems, making them a safer presence in the warehouse.

A promising future…

The anticipated installation of 4 million commercial warehouse robots in over 50,000 warehouses by 2025 marks a pivotal moment in the logistics and e-commerce industries. This statistic underscores the vital role that automation and robotics will play in enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and safety in warehousing operations.

As technology continues to evolve, warehouse automation will become even more integrated into the logistics industry. The warehouses of the future will likely be a blend of humans and machines, working together to meet the ever-increasing demands of a dynamic global economy.

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This company has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 849938