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Supply Chain News: Best of ProMat 2017 Day 2 - Individual Clips


SCDigest Editor Dan Gilmore and Materials Handling Editor Cliff Holste with Individual Reviews of Top New Solutions they Discovered on Day 2 in Chicago

April 17, 2017
SCDigest Editorial Staff

No one covers ProMat 2017 like Supply Chain Digest.

Last week, we launched our Video Review and Comment for Day 1 and Day 2 of the show.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

A new data platform for DCs from a inew company called SensorThink, developed in partnership with Tompkins International, is sort of a home automation system for warehouses.

What do you say?

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Then later in the week, SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore dedicated his First Thoughts column to an overall review of the show, including a focus on just how much ecommerce is impacting materials handling systems and the supply chain. (See Trip Report: ProMat 2017.)


The daily video reviews last about 15 minutes, and may feature new solutions not of interest to all SCDigest readers


So, as we have done in the past, here we break out those longer videos into individual segments, enabling readers to browse and view just the clips that are of most interest to them.


You can view the Day 1 individual clips here: Best of ProMat 2017 Day 1 - Individual Clips


For Day 2, we'll start with Gilmore and Materials Handling Editor Holste discussing overall trends and themes they picked up after two days at the show, including the dominance of automated piece picking solutions for ecommerce at the show, and the growing apprpoach of using virtual reality systems to demonstrate materials handling systems, both generally and for specific implementations.



Gilmore and Holste on Day 2 ProMat Themes and Trends


Next, more interesting imaging solutions at this year's show from a company called Cognex. That included a new 3D imager that provides a lot of image resolution into what is exactly in a carton or tote, such as how the items are layered on top of each other. This can enable robotic pickers to operate faster or with more accuracy. German automation company Knaap was using the Cognex imager to add smarts to its robotic piece picking system. Other Cognex imagers can read a lot of damaged bar codes quite successfully.


Cognex Imagers Can Improve Robotics Pickers, Read Damaged Bar Codes



Italian mobile terminal and imager/scanner systems maker Datalogic has repurposed a sort of bar code scanning tunnel from its original application in the grocery sector for point of sale systems to reading individual items to confirm piece picks at high speeds. Could such a system also be used to read carton bar codes on a conveyor system less expensively that the arrays of readers used today? Maybe, Datalogic says, especially for smaller cartons.


Datalogic Repurposes Grocery Scan Tunnel for eCommerce 
Piece Picks, Maybe Small Cartons Some Day



Retailers using stores for efulfillment need an almost "WMS Light" type system to guide the work to drive efficiencies. Intelliigrated - now of course part of Honeywell - was presenting its new system that does exactly that, combining task management with order picking support and more.


New WMS Light for In-Store Order Fulfillment from Intelligrated




(See More Below)


Learn More about Softeon's Innovative Supply Chain Solutions



A company called I am Robotics has an interesting solution for picking eaches off of static shelving. Key is an advanced vision system that is used to validate the right product is being picked and to guide the approach of the robot. The system can also be used to pick totes and do so far less expensively than alternative systems such as mini-shuttles, according to the founder and CEO.


Piece and Tote Picking Robot from I am Robotics Leverages Vision System




Gilmore closed out SCDigest's Day 2 ProMat coverage by offering a short round up of three other solutions. Those were: a new data platform for DCs from a inew company called SensorThink, developed in partnership with Tompkins International, that is sort of a home automation system for warehouses, tying together information from materials handling systems, HAVC, the electrical system, internet of things sensors and more.


Lucas Systems, known for its Voice solutions, was showing its Dynamic Work Optimizer that promises to increase efficiencies in order picking processes. Gilmore also got an update of Baxter from Rething Robotics, arguably the most prominent of the so-called collaborative robots. Companies showing increases interest, company says, but Gilmore says what's needed are a few killer apps.


Gilmore's Solution Round Up: SensorThink, Lucas, Rethink Robotics



OK, that's it for our Day 2 ProMat individual clips, and our coverage of the show for 2017.

Any reaction to any of these new solutions from ProMat? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below or the link above to send an email.


Your Comments/Feedback


Senior Consultant, Infosys
Posted on: May, 22 2016
Great article. I am a little suprised not to see BNSF in the mix while I understand their financial mode/operation is a little different. 

That would only give a complete perspective with all the players in the pool.

Mike O'Brien

Senior editor, Access Intelligence
Posted on: May, 26 2016
Surprised to see Home Depot fall off the list; thought they were winning with Sync?

Julie Leonard

Marketing Director, Inovity
Posted on: Jun, 27 2016
Using the right tool for the right job has always been a best practice and one of the reasons, we feel, that RFID has never taken off in the DC as exponentially as pundits have been forecasting since 2006. While these results may seem surprising to those solely focused on barcode scanning, the adoption of multi-modal technologies in the DC makes perfect sense for greater worker efficiency and productivity.

Carsten Baumann

Strategic Alliance Manager, Schneider Electric
Posted on: Aug, 19 2016

The IoT Platform in this year's (2016) Hype Cycle is on the ascending side, entering the "Peak of Inflated Expectation" area. How does this compare to the IoT positions of the previous years, which have already peaked in 2015? Isn't this contradicting in itself?

Editor's Note: 

You are right, Internet of Things (IoT) was at the top of the Garter new technology hype curve not long ago. As you noted, however, this time the placement was for “IoT Platforms,” a category of software tools from a good number of vendors to manage connectivity, data communications and more with IoT-enabled devices in the field.

So, this is different fro IoT generally, though a company deploying connected things obviously needs some kind of platform – hoe grown or acquired – to manage those functions.

Why IoT generically is not on the curve this year I wondered myself.



Jo Ann Tudtud-Navalta

Materials Management Manager, Chong Hua Hospital, Cebu City, Philippines
Posted on: Aug, 21 2016

I agree totally with Mr. Schneider.

I have always lived by "put it in writing" all my work life.  I am a firm believer of the many benefits of putting everything in writing and I try to teach it to as many people as I can.

This "putting in writing" can also be used for almost anything else.  Here are some general benefits (only some) of "putting in writing":

1. Everything is better understood between parties involved.  There are lots of people types who need something visual to improve their understanding.
2. Everyone can read to review and correct anything misunderstood.  This will ensure that all parties concerned confirm the details of the agreements as correct.  This is further enhanced by having all parties involved sign off on a hard copy or confirm via reply email.
3. Everything has a proof.  Not to belittle the element of trust among parties involved, it is always safest to have tangible proof of what was agreed on.
4. There will be a document to refer to at any time by any one who needs clarification.
5. The documentation can be useful historical data for any future endeavor.  It provides inputs for better decisions on related situations in the future.
6. This can also be compiled and used to teach future new team members.  "Learn from the past" it is said.

There are many more benefits.  Mr. Schneider is very correct about his call to "put it in writing".

Sandy Montalbano

Consultant, Reshoring Initiative
Posted on: Aug, 24 2016
U.S. companies are reshoring and foreign companies are investing in U.S. locations to be in close proximity to the U.S. market for customer responsiveness, flexibility, quality control, and for the positive branding of "Made in USA".

Reshoring including FDI balanced offshoring in 2015 as it did in 2014. In comparison, in 2000-2007 the U.S. lost net about 200,000 manufacturing jobs per year to offshoring. That is huge progress to celebrate!

The Reshoring Initiative Can Help. In order to help companies decide objectively to reshore manufacturing back to the U.S. or offshore, the nonprofit Reshoring Initiative's free Total Cost of Ownership Estimator can help corporations calculate the real P&L impact of reshoring or offshoring.


Transportation Manager, N/A
Posted on: Aug, 30 2016
 Good article!  I am sending this to my colleagues who work with me.  We have to keep this in mind.  Thanks!

Ian Jansen

Posted on: Sep, 14 2016
SCM is all about getting the order delivered to the Customer on date/ time requested because happy Customers = Revenue. Using the right tools to do the right job is important and SCM is heavily dependent on sophisticated ERP systems to get right real data info ASP.

I've worked in a DC with more than 400,000 line items and measured the Productivity of Pickers by how many "picks" per day.

I've learned that one doesn't have to remind Germany about your EDI orders.

Don Benson

Partner, Warehouse Coach
Posted on: Sep, 15 2016
Challenge - to build and sustain effective relationships at the level of the organizations that are responsible for effectively coordinating and colaborating in an otherwise highly competitive environment 


Admin, Fulfillment Logistics UK Ltd
Posted on: Oct, 02 2016
Of course we all need to up our game. We need to move with the times, and always be one step ahead of what the future will bring.

Mike Dargis

President of asset-based carrier based in the Midwest, Zip Xpress Inc. (at
Posted on: Oct, 03 2016
Thanks for the article, but I know there's a lot more to this issue than just the pay rates. Please check out my blogs on the subject at


Inventory Specialist, Syncron
Posted on: Nov, 16 2016
Lora, great article! I agree that companies choose the 'safe' solution more often than not. My solution is a bolt-on for legacy ERP's and we even face challeneges of customer adoption. Most like to play it safe and choose an ERP upgrade, which is more costly, time consuming, and has lower ROI across the board. Would love to learn more about your company, we are always looking for partnerships.


Bob McIntyre

National Account Executive, DBK Concepts LLC
Posted on: Nov, 21 2016
This is a game changer in GE's production and prototyping.  It also has huge implications across the GE global supply chain with regard to the management of their support and spare parts network. 



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