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Supply Chain News: Best New Solutions from MODEX 2016 Day 1


We Break Full Videos into Individual Clips of Cool New Materials Handling and Supply Chain Software Solutions

April 12, 2016
SCDigest Editorial Staff

SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore and materials handling editor Cliff Holste are fresh back from MHI's MODEX 2016 show in Atlanta last week.

We've already provided lots of MODEX coverage, including day 1 and day 2 video reviews, plus a written "trip report" in Gilmore's First Thoughts column last Friday.


Beyond that, as we often do here this week we break those full day video recaps into segments, each on one of the cool new solutions Gilmore and Holste discovered at the show, so readers can browse the just ones they are most interested in.


This week: best new solutions from those we found on Modex day 1. We start with not a specific vendor, but a discussion on how there are early attempts to use telematics to track pallets in a distribution center without the need to scan them.


Use of Telematics for Scanless Pallet Tracking



Next, supply chain software vendor Softeon was demonstrating use of voice, including "natural languge" commands, to interact with its Warehouse Management System (WMS). We believe this approach will be commonplace in a relatively few years, an Softeon is out in front of the technology. Softeon was also using regular smart phones for voice, not specialized terminals.


Softeon's Voice Controlled WMS



Next, voice software provider Voxware was showing a new "prescriptive analytics" solution that was very cool. It showed, for example, the progress of work in loading trucks in a DC, alerted managers if a given truck was behind schedule, and showed the impact if say two more associates were added to work that trailer. Excellent example of where these kind of analytics are headed.


Voxware's Prescriptive Analytics Solution for Distribution




Changing gears, a company called AutoGuide featured a new "automomous" automated guided vehicle (AGV) that learns its own environment, greatly simplifying effort to teach it where to move, and interestingly also making the AGV a lot cheaper than other machines that require more hardware to manage the movement paths. Other vendors at the show were also using the same type of technology for AGVs as are being used for autonomous cars, in what will clearly be imortant changes to AGV technology.


AutoGuide New Autonomous AGV




Apex Supply Chain Technologies was showing a very cool system for storing and managing devices in a distribution center, such as RF terminals. A locker type system, these Apex modules could easily be distributed across different areas of a DC, ending the long lines often seen with a centrally managed disbursement systems. The lockers can be used to charge the devices, and provide excellent control of these assets. Other system from Apex can track the amount of inventory in a storage bin by weight and trigger a replenishment say on a manufacturing line when that weight falls below a threshold. Well designed systems.


Apex Supply Chain Solutions Offers Locker Storage System for Assets in a DC




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Next, we found a very interesting high density storage solution for piece picking from a company called Speed Cell. These are in effect fabric hangers with storage pouches, dozens of which can be installed on rails right in a former pallet storage location. The result is hundreds of pick faces in a very small area in terms of feet of aisle space used. Very creative.

Speed Cell's High Density Storage System for Piece Picking



Knapp Automation was featuring one of its versions of the goods-to-person systems now such a rage, in which items delivered to a pick station from a shutttle are rapidly placed into a "pouch," which is then conveyed to downstream packing stations. Claim is that this is much faster than picking into cartons or totes, and the speed certainly looked plenty fast to us.


Knapp Automation's Goods-to-Person System Using Pouches



Finally, a company called ATLATL was showing very cool software for automating the quoating and sizing process for materials handlign vendors. While the main benefit of this will be to those kinds of vendors, the result should be nicer, easier to understand proposals from vendors and more rapid response to changes in the requirements, benefitting shippers in the end. This is also just a good example of what can be done now with next generation Cloud and mobile based software tools.


ATLATL New Solution Automates Materials Handling Quoting Process




That's it for solutions we featured from day 1. We'll be back with a similar treatment for day 2 solutions next week.


Any reaction on these Day 1 MODEX solutions? What caught your eye at the shoW? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


Your Comments/Feedback




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