Material Handling After a Year of Covid

March 19, 2021

As we get to roughly a year since Covid-19 shut down the US, we consider some of the impacts and the lasting changes of the pandemic. Online shopping is no longer just for Amazon. Consumers are even more comfortable ordering whatever they need online. E-commerce because of the pandemic is no longer just convenient but necessary for some. Increasing the strain on an already stressed system of distribution, logistics, and manufacturing. 

With the fulfillment growth, there is even more focus on throughput. Exacerbating the labor shortage of pre-pandemic times as demand swells. One net positive is the emphasis on health and safety for the workforce. 

Automation and robotics have been trending in material handling over the last decades. With the introduction of Industry 4.0, there is increased focus on these solutions. Many OEMs, 3PLs, and large companies have automation on their roadmap. Covid has caused many to reevaluate these solutions. No longer can automation be 5 years out, it is something that is being evaluated in the near term. The goal of these new solutions is to decrease the burden on workers and increase throughput. 

When we decided to work the majority remotely last year for the safety of our employees there was a lot of uncertainty. The acceleration of demand for warehouse automation solutions has been overwhelming. With the introduction of our technology, customers can improve their safety and functionality. Making sure that there are trucks taking care of the repetitive tasks frees up humans to be in higher-value operations. 

Our shared autonomy platform frees up skilled operators to oversee a fleet of multiple forklifts at once. If ever our system is uncertain they ask for confirmation from the operator. The smart system learns from these instances to better act in the future. Warehouses are dynamic environments and our system is prepared to identify varying pallets in those changing conditions.

The demand during the pandemic has reiterated that our product has a market. We have potential customers contacting us daily wanting to know more about our solution. 

This past calendar year has been bittersweet. As a company, we’ve had countless wins, we raised $15M, we’ve doubled in size, and our product has matured a great deal. But we are still looking forward to being able to celebrate in person! 

The pandemic will hopefully end soon. However, the demand for automation systems will continue to grow. As a company, Third Wave Automation aims to impact warehouse functionality and add value to our customers. 

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