The technology is already developed, the task now is to bring and massify these solutions in our markets and for that it is necessary to understand the contribution of these tools. There are two important aspects that help the massification of these solutions: one, when we talk about technology we talk about how, step by step, companies go through stages in technologies as the business grows; being the scalability key to the penetration of these solutions in the industry. Two, not all projects today must be evaluated from the variable ‘return on investment’ and, as happened with e-Commerce, where only large retailers invested in this channel and all the rest waited for this process to be born and grow naturally until the pandemic arrived and forced everyone to jump on this bandwagon, applying technology, robots or AI cannot be measured from the return on investment alone, but it is necessary to take a strategic look, because the level of automation in the logistics industry is taking a path at an impressive speed and it is what is coming as a mandatory step for the near future.
There is no doubt that the companies that are jumping on this bandwagon will be better prepared, because it is inevitable that this technological reality will arrive. It is a change of outlook that is coming strongly, since its penetration is leveraged by two important factors: one, the increase in productivity, since it will always be faster to operate with technology than manually, and two, flexibility, since everything that is autonomous equipment are so flexible and combinable methods with different alternatives that finally give flexibility to the operation, flexibility when making combinations, flexibility when the business changes, flexibility if I change CD and also flexibility in scalability. There are no rigid structures and this allows these technologies to address many different types of operations with the same infrastructure, without being tied to iron or structures, which is clearly a tremendous advantage to face operational peaks, sudden increases in demand and high seasons.
Now we must understand that this penetration is not only because the technology exists, but also because the intelligence is now incorporated in the software, changing the focus from the hardware, which has allowed us to grow and position ourselves in the logistics industry, despite the complexities of each operation, as we have managed to adapt to the characteristics of each operational stage.
The call is to be part of this new technological scenario and add this equipment to their operations, and here we see two different views in companies: one is the traditional one, where they understand the need to take this step and start by incorporating basic technologies and then take the big leap as they see the benefits. The second group of companies are those that believe in technology and can take the leap and take risks, although given the current scenario this leap is not as risky as it used to be.
The fear of investment is completely dispelled, since the technology is proven and it is noticeable on its way to massification. They are safe, they work and their incorporation responds to a strategic decision.
Finally, it is clear that it is and will be tremendously complex for companies to be able to respond to current challenges without considering technologies. Those who do not start thinking about and implementing technological changes will be left behind. Managing operations with many people or with manual processes will be complex, the lack of collaborators is a reality that is hitting the industry and this will accelerate technological investment.
Advancing in technology is a decision that should be seriously considered, because it responds to the strategy proposed by the company rather than to a tactical or specific issue. The path has already been marked and technological solutions are now fully integrated into the operation, achieving integrated intralogistics processes with palletizing, automated warehouses, robots, AGVs, etc. There is a maturity of the technologies and this allows us to project their penetration that finally leads us to the efficiency of the entire supply chain, which helps the business growth and its long-term strategic vision.