• 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing
  • Collaborative Robotics
  • The Internet of Things
  • Intelligent Production Planning and Scheduling
  • Optimized Picking, Packing, Loading, and Shipping

The future of manufacturing and distribution depends on emerging technologies that will change both industries more over the next 5 – 10 years than in the last 50.

Additive Manufacturing, also called 3D Printing, will enable us to create objects and to repair, replicate, or replace them quickly and at greatly reduced costs. At the same time, it will have very significant implications for the role of distributors since 3D Printed objects can be created at or close to the point of consumption.

3D Printing will also facilitate deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is a critical component of a fundamental shift in human history. Enabling the IoT means not merely appending, but embedding sensors, simple processors, and communications capabilities into an ever widening array of objects of all kinds. Doing so will provide a critical link between the digital and physical worlds.

Collaborative Robotics combines the best of human and robotic capabilities. Artificial intelligence provides speed, consistency, and endurance. People provide judgment and creativity. The combination provides synergies far surpassing either on its own.

Increasing levels of intelligence also means that advanced scheduling systems will soon be able, automatically and dynamically, to reroute production orders optimally through production facilities as new orders come in and conditions change during a shift.

Moreover, sophisticated planning systems will soon take into account such factors as changing economic conditions and even the weather in order to identify the best possible combinations of production planning, picking, packing, loading, shipping, and distribution for their products.

On the supply side, we will see breakthroughs in shared supply networks that will simultaneously cut costs and speed availability of parts and materials for manufacturers and finished products for distributors, retailers, and end consumers.

Technology Futurist, author, and consultant Jack Shaw has been helping manufacturers and distributors benefit from emerging innovations for over 30 years. Come listen and learn how your business can plan to take full advantage of these incipient breakthroughs.

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