Amid Growing Pains and a Labor Shortage, Shippers Find Solutions in Automation

At warehouses and distribution centers, the migration toward automation is taking on greater urgency in 2022, and late adopters are realizing they can’t afford to sit on the sidelines any longer.

Workers haven’t been this scarce and expensive in decades, prices for products have been rising steadily, and COVID-19 still is lingering. At the same time, e-commerce companies are trying to fulfill three times as many orders as just a few short years ago, and in one third of the time. In today’s highly competitive e-commerce marketplace, meeting consumers’ demands for quick delivery is essential to a retailer’s longterm survival.

Rupesh Narkar, director of sales, consumer goods for MHI member Swisslog Logistics Inc., said customers who shifted to online shopping amid the pandemic have grown accustomed to the convenience of free, two-day shipping and nearby in-store pickup. Due to the labor shortage and the rapid growth in order volume, however, companies are struggling to meet those expectations, driving the adoption…

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