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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.
Various diagrams show how the drones could pick up packages from a vehicle in the street, then fly over to drop off deliveries on doorsteps, designated drop zones and upper-floor balconies. Some diagrams show big delivery truck as the base of operations, while other show a smaller delivery robot like the ones that are being tested north of Seattle.
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.
There’s one more twist to the application: It cites a GeekWire story about Google’s patent for using drones to pick up shipments and fly them to a mobile dropbox.
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.
For what it’s worth, Amazon has been investing what’s thought to be hundreds of millions of dollars with transportation startups such as Rivian and Aurora. Amazon plans to buy 100,000 all-electric Rivian vans for its delivery fleet. And recentlypublished patent applications indicate that both Rivian and Aurora are putting a lot of effort into making their vehicles autonomous, even under challenging conditions.
The big question is, what took so long for someone to get the patent for this idea? We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment, and will update this item with anything substantial we hear.
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GeekWire aerospace and science editor Alan Boyle is an award-winning science writer and veteran space reporter. Formerly of NBCNews.com, he is the author of “The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference.” Follow him via CosmicLog.com, on Twitter @b0yle, and on Facebook and MeWe.
Chipman Relocation & Logistics, a full-service moving,
storage and logistics company, is pleased to announce the
acquisition of Olsen & Fielding Moving Services in
Olsen & Fielding provided professional moving solutions to
residential and corporate customers, as well as the U.S.
Department of Defense (DoD). Founded in 1952 under the
name National Transfer and Storage, the company
rebranded as Olsen & Fielding Moving Services in 1988.
“During that time, Olsen & Fielding continued to set
themselves apart from other companies with each customer-
centric relocation they performed,” says Justin Chipman,
President and Chairman of the Board at Chipman Relocation
“Like Chipman, Olsen and Fielding has a rich history,” he
adds. “Culturally, it’s a synergistic fit for both companies, as
we share common core values and a deep-rooted understanding of operating as a growth-oriented family-
owned business.” The Chipman family looks forward to welcoming the talented members of Olsen & Fielding into
Olsen & Fielding will be under the management of industry veteran Edward Melton. Edward will blend the Olsen & Fielding team into his existing 25 person team in the Natomas area of Sacramento. The combined companies will give Chipman 145,000 sq ft of warehousing in Sacramento and daily capacity of over 50 crews.
Chipman Relocation & Logistics began in 1939 when Arthur &
Dorothy Chipman started Chipman Moving & Storage in
Vallejo, California. A multi-generational family business, the
company has continued to expand through the years. Today,
Chipman operates multiple locations throughout the West
Coast, and is a shareholder agent of Unigroup, Inc., the
largest household goods transportation company in North
The acquisition of Olsen and Fielding will provide Chipman
with wide access to one of the most recognizable names in
moving–Mayflower Transit–in the Sacramento
market. Chipman says the acquisition will also allow
Chipman Relocation & Logistics to better serve agent partners
and clients with additional capacity, warehouse space, and
customer facing resources.
“Together, we will make an impact by having a stronger team
with increased capacity, while maintaining the singular goal
of providing our collective customers with a remarkable
experience every step of the way—everyday,” says Justin
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