Capacity at MODEX 2020: Themes & Highlights
While everything has changed in recent days regarding how and where large groups can congregate, things were much less tense when our engineering team headed out to Atlanta for MODEX 2020 earlier this month. They're home safe and sound now, of course, and we'd love to share some of the sights and themes that they brought us from the show.
Even though we won't be out in exhibition halls for the foreseeable future, we hope these images and smiles act as a reminder that things will eventually return to a more stable footing. Until then, we wish everyone a safe and healthy transition period.
Capacity at MODEX 2020
We attend MODEX, the annual gathering of manufacturing and supply chain solutions experts, on a regular basis. Powered by the Materials Handling Institute (MHI), the event gives us a glimpse at the next wave of supply chain technology and a chance to reconnect with other leaders in our industry.
MODEX 2020 was no exception. From warehouse inventory drones to the latest in packaging technology, our team soaked up a lot of information (and took a lot of photos!) down in Atlanta.
No photo captures the event better than the one above, with Capacity's Industrial Engineer Amogh Mutalikdesai and Milind Jadhav, our Director of Analytics and Supply Chain Systems, all smiles as they take in the latest fulfillment technology. Our Director of Engineering, Ed Shapiro, and CEO Jeff Kaiden were also in attendance, but they clearly managed to escape this shot by taking the picture!
Unsurprisingly, given the drive to automate repetitive parts of the fulfillment process, packaging equipment is everywhere at MODEX. Refining this area of our business with tier-one systems from technology partners like Lightning Pick and Righthand Robotics has been a primary driver behind Capacity's efficiency improvements in recent years.
While the job done by equipment from companies like PAC Machinery (above) and SealedAir (below) may seem simple, accomplishing the same task hundreds or thousands of times a day is not so easy. For humans, fatigue can quickly set in and concentration levels inevitably wane. No such limitations for advanced machinery like those you see here, as they continue to pack and seal products like clockwork, freeing up employees to focus on more challenging tasks that better utilize their individual talents.
SealedAir's systems, in particular, demonstrated a wide range of automated shrink wrapping solutions to keep packages protected en route to the customer. An essential part of the "Fulfillment Delivered" mantra that we keep repeating at Capacity lies in pristine packaging and orders that arrive in mint condition.
We're always excited to see how our service partners and the wider world of vendors at MODEX are innovating to ensure buyers are delighted by each and every order.
Sensors and Safety
As we move towards a world where every device is connected and communicating with other devices, it makes sense that safety is at the forefront of that movement. In a warehouse with many moving parts and an increasing adoption of robotics technology to augment the passionate work of those who guide the fulfillment process, new challenges arise to ensure people are protected.
Thankfully, companies like Elokon and "Save"ty Yellow Products are hard at work making the warehouse of the future a safer place.
In the case of Elokon, the latest sensor technology is applied to seemingly every aspect of warehouse equipment, from collision detection systems for forklift trucks to the connected safety vests that you see in the image above. The latter items ensure that a person present in a pre-defined high-risk area can be alerted to potential danger, while individual sections of the warehouse can be temporarily halted as necessary.
For "Save"ty, a company that proudly touts its "American-made" products and total commitment to industrial safety, the job is all about visibility. The result is a warehouse environment with striking protection products that fit racking, handrails, and safety gates, as well as collision awareness technology that, like Elokon, leans on sensors for employee alerts and hazard warnings.
Advanced Inventory Management
Real-time tracking of orders and inventory is essential to any effective fulfillment system. With devices capable of receiving order updates in the pockets of almost every customer and smart devices capable or reporting order status, it should come as little surprise that buyers expect more and more in terms of knowing where their stuff is.
Brands are acutely aware of this. Many vendors at MODEX 2020 presented compelling technology solutions for staying on top of that requirement by maintaining up-to-date, accurate data.
The tracking and data dashboards on display from Logistiview, for example, provide a good example of what can be done with visual dashboard reporting and process mapping software.
Meanwhile, taking us back to the warehouse floor - or, more accurately, warehouse airspace - Flytware showcased some hardware that our industry has been talking about for many years: drone technology. Admittedly, most of the media headlines have obsessed over delivery drones, but given the regulatory difficulty of releasing swarms of flying robots out into the nation's skies, some companies prefer to work on applications inside the warehouse.
That's where products like Flytware's inventory management drones come in, offering the ability to negotiate narrow aisles and tall racking much more efficiently than other equipment like forklifts or rolling robots. Furthermore, these autonomous drones can be used to perform laborious tasks such as inventory counting, audits, and second or third count validation to back up manual counts.
Factor in the context of a carefully controlled warehouse environment, along with some of the connected safety measures that we discussed earlier, and drones become a compelling solution to a variety of inventory management challenges. The fact that they're fun to play with and look futuristic has nothing to do with including them here, of course..!
Covering everything on display at MODEX 2020 would be impossible, but we hope this brief digest gives you a flavor of the show and a desire to dive in to specific areas. If so, you're in luck! MHI has a record of every day associated with the event here in their archive.
Enjoy and please let us know if you have any questions about what we saw at the show in Atlanta. You can email the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.