High consumer expectations for fast deliveries are prompting retailers to turn toward automation to help speed up distribution. Almost 28% of warehouses globally are expected to be using commercial robots by 2025, up from just 3% in 2018. Since 2015, $1.2 billion in U.S. venture-capital has been invested in logistics-focused robotics and automation, and the broader market for warehousing and logistics market is expected to top $80 billion in 2023.
Tight Labor Market Encourages Automated Forklifts
Automated forklifts are becoming a reality in warehouses, as qualified and reliable workers become harder to come by. These forklifts can reduce product damage and prevent physical injury to warehouse workers, as well as improve productivity and accuracy. Many of the forklifts can also integrate with a WMS or ERP.
25% of SMBs’ Logistics Strategies Are Influenced By Amazon
Supply Chain Dive reports that one in four small to medium-sized businesses say that Amazon and Walmart’s one-day shipping offering will influence their logistics strategy in 2020. 47% of those surveyed said they plan to increase shipping and logistics spend, with many focusing that spend on new technologies.
For a long time, Amazon has been looking into applications for self-driving vehicles — and testing fleets of self-flying drones for making package deliveries. So it only makes sense that the Seattle-based online retailing giant would meld those vehicles for a warehouse-to-doorstep delivery system virtually untouched by human hands.
In a patent published today, Amazon inventors Hilliard Bruce Siegel and Ethan Evans describe a system that has autonomous ground vehicles transport packages to a customer’s neighborhood — perhaps even the street in front of the customer’s door — and coordinate the doorstep delivery with a drone.
Both types of robo-carriers would be in contact wirelessly with a central computer network that would manage the operation. The ground vehicle could be directed to head over to a fulfillment center, pick up shipments and plot a course for deliveries. Drones could flit back and forth to drop off packages and charge up at the vehicle.
The drones could be owned or operated by an entity that’s distinct from the ground-vehicle service — for example, by the managers of the apartment building that’s being serviced. You could have different companies put in charge of deliveries in different neighborhoods. The important thing is that everything’s coordinated through a central network.
Such a combination system would solve several challenges: For example, the battery-powered drones wouldn’t have to use as much juice as they would if they were flying directly from a fulfillment center to make a delivery. There’d be less noise, and less need to fly over other people’s property.
For ground vehicles, the system not only bridges the “last mile” of a delivery route — it addresses the last 100 feet. Siegel and Evans, who are veterans in the patent business, say that’s becoming increasingly important.
“Over time, an increasing frequency and volume of deliveries of items from e-commerce and mail-order companies has resulted in an increased need for faster and more efficient delivery methods,” they write.
The application was filed back in 2016, and there’s no guarantee that Amazon will develop an all-autonomous delivery system like the one described. But the description does provide an indication of what Amazon has been thinking about as it builds out its own end-to-end delivery system.
Have you been frustrated when well developed and well funded plans fail to produce results? Strategic planning, as difficult and painful as it feels when immersed in the data and long meetings CANNOT guarantee predictable results without an execution plan. Planning by itself , albeit critical is simply wasting time and resources without strict accountability actions baked into the sauce.
Suggested reading on this topic:
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy
In order to strike a balance between no theme and full-on theme park, it’s important to understand how to choose a theme that’s right for your presentation and your audience.
A group of flight attendants in matching uniforms strolled through the boardroom handing out drinks and snack-sized peanuts to the executive audience in the boardroom. After some puzzled looks, one of the flight attendants announced: “Buckle your seat belts, you’re in for a ride!” Landlocked training program? Nope. Just an example of a sales presentation venturing into full theme park territory, thus defeating its primary purpose: anchoring their solution to the prospect’s goals or objectives.
A theme can be a powerful unifying tool – especially for longer or team presentations — but there’s a fine line that can be crossed that can spell disaster for your presentation (as it did for this sales team in the above example) when you don’t have a good understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish and some of the traps that you can stumble into.
A theme underscores the central message of your presentation in a way that is meaningful and memorable for your customer. The most effective presentation themes center around prospect’s objectives (growth, competitive advantage, innovation, etc.) and how you’re going to help them achieve it. A theme can typically be described with a few words or a strong image. Although used prominently in your opening and closing, a good theme often runs like a thread throughout your presentation, even influencing your slide design and messaging.
What a Presentation theme is not:
Don’t make the mistake of confusing your product or service “theme” with your presentation theme. While materials provided by your marketing department may be good, most are focused on your product or company and not specific to your prospect’s unique goals or challenges. A generic theme will not resonate with your customer and provide very little in the way of value or “stickiness.”
Your Customer’s Brand.
I’m all for using a customer’s language and examples from their world, however using their product or branding as a theme is not as unique or effective as you might think. Case in point: An experienced sales team I was working with was pitching a six-figure solution to the Disney organization. Their initial idea was to use a Disney character theme with each section of the presentation focused on a particular character, complete with Disney character props, videos and pictures. At our first meeting I asked the team how many “Disney-themed” sales presentations they thought Disney executives had sat through. The first time was probably cute. The fifteenth? Not so much. We worked together to come up with a theme targeted to the unique goals Disney had in a specific area that their solution resolved. (They won the deal.)
How to choose a theme for your sales presentation:
In order to strike a balance between no theme and full-on theme park, it’s important to understand how to choose a theme that’s right for your presentation and your audience. Before picking out a theme, consider these three questions:
What do you want to accomplish? Different themes convey different emotions. For example, a sports-related theme may be good for challenging or motivating a prospect, a space-related theme may serve to inspire them to greater heights.
What is the tone? Serious? Light-hearted? Humorous? The tone of your presentation should be consistent with your theme. For example, if your message is about turning a company around from the brink of disaster, a theme about badminton may be a little lightweight to support such a substantial subject.
What are the visual possibilities? A good theme lends itself to a clear visual. The more instantly recognizable the better. For example, a theme of “teamwork” might be easily identified by a celebrating sports team or two clasped hands, while a theme of “maximizing value” might be more difficult to quickly convey.
Finding your theme:
Coming up with a theme can be a challenge if you’re not a creative type. Here are some suggestions to help you get started finding the right theme:
Brainstorm: If you’re working as a team, plan a brainstorming session with one rule: There are no bad ideas! If you can’t all get together in one place, have everyone list off ten ideas and submit them via email by a certain date. You can then run a poll and vote on the top choice.
Review your core message. This is the 10,000-foot view of what you’re trying to say to your prospect or how you’re trying to make her feel. Your presentation itself can be a good source for this core message. Try looking in these sections:
Your customer’s objectives: In discovery you should have identified the challenges your customer faces and what desired outcome from your solution was most meaningful for them. Can you describe it in a word or two? Is it freedom, innovation, visibility?
Your competitive advantage: If your presentation is focused on “why buy us” – in other words, they know they need your solution but the decision to buy from is not made — you may want to create a theme around a competitive advantage. For example, if mobility is important to your prospect and your competitors are lacking in this area, a theme like “The Power of Now” can highlight your strengths.
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