MODEX, the premier trade show for the Material Handling industry, just wrapped up its 2022 conference with one major theme: Automation! I've been attending industry shows for 36 years and each year I believe the changes are dramatic, but this year really turned the corner emphasizing technology with promises of quick returns on your investment. I want to share a few of my observations:
Most everyone in distribution and manufacturing is strained right now. Between supply chain constraints and hiring challenges, there is a great deal of heightened emotion in the marketplace: emotion that is looking for a solution. Promises of doing more with less are very appealing, hence a growing emphasis on technology.
When making considerations about embracing a certain form of technology, I approach the issue the same way I would a car at an automobile show. They are exciting and cool to look at, but am I willing to invest in that technology as a primary vehicle? Virtually no one buys the concept car as their only form of transportation, just as company leaders will not likely bet their organizations' health on some of the technology observed at MODEX. Only the largest companies will have the budget to invest in trial technology.
It was clear to see the investments companies are making into automation technology. The large national integrators spared no expense creating and manning their booths. Foreign players were also well-funded, hoping to gain a greater foothold in the US marketplace. Among the crowd, it was clear that companies were participating in one-upsmanship in attempts to outdo not only competitors, but themselves. But were customers gained to justify these expenses? It is possible that gaining new clients was not the goal so much as thanking the current customer base for their partnership. Automation costs are not a one-time expense, however, as the post-implementation support and maintenance are ongoing needs.
As a veteran of the industry, I have always introduced new ideas, concepts, and technology to my clients. The intention is never to beat our clients over the head with new tech or to urge them to spend unnecessarily, but to be sure they are informed of the options.
After perusing the options offered at MODEX 2022, I wondered how many of those products would realistically be quoted and sold to McGee's customers in Metro Atlanta. I want to say that the answer is "many," however the reality is that most businesses will continue to require and utilize more traditional methods to gain storage and handling efficiencies.
McGee will continue to talk about the next steps in the industry, always striving to look five years ahead for our clients because we feel it is part of the value we bring. But for today, we are excited to continue helping a majority of business with traditional solutions such as pallet racking, shelving, conveyors, mezzanines, pack lines, and more. And when you are ready for automation, we will be too!
We are ready to help with your next project. Call McGee Storage and Handling at 770-458-4346 or click the button below!