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A World Made Possible By Logistics & Material Handling

08 Jan 2020
Tobias Byfeldt

Many of us do not truly understand or appreciate the underlying foundations for how and why mankind has achieved such enormous success and prosperity. More commonly, we are taught about problems with the world and the challenges that we will face in the future.

While we are certainly not perfect, and still have a long way to go, it is important to step back and view the incredible improvements to the conditions of human life that we as humans have been able to create through technology and industrialization. And it is important to be appreciative of the fact that we live in a world profoundly better than it ever has been in history.

The transition from hunter-gatherer societies towards agrarian societies was already an enormous revolution. But the last 200 years of industrialization has provided most people and societies with the security and technology to make life easy. The trend is clear: Only a few societies are behind the curve, and the gap is closing between the prosperous world and the developing world with such speed, that expressions like “third world countries” are becoming irrelevant. Soon there will only be one world, where people live in conditions that previous generations could merely dream of.

There are many industries and technologies that have made this possible. But my focus is logistics, which is the industry that I am personally engaged in and passionate about.

How much has logistics contributed to the development of modern human life? I would say profoundly! In almost every society that has existed, the supply of food and materials has always been critical for sustaining life, thus making logistics pivotal to our survival.

Although, if we take one step back; it’s all about energy. Affordable and efficient energy has been instrumental to the modernization of human societies. In terms of logistics, increasingly affordable energy gave us the power to move things faster and across longer distances.

As a result, dangers such as famine, which once threatened populations globally, has virtually disappeared. In the present day, where there is a shortage locally, supplies are routed globally. Logistics have become so effective, that it would be impossible for a person living a couple of decades ago to even imagine it.

Today a citizen in Beijing can order a product from California and receive it within the same working week. Just think about it; it’s “science fiction”.

Logistics strongly contributed to a faster spread of knowledge and proliferation of ideas. It gave us the power to utilize more evolved products from one part of the world to improve a product or service in another part of the world. This has enabled products to evolve at a rate that was previously impossible. Logistics cross-pollinate ideas from different societies in so many ways. It also helps to sustain peace, as it makes societies dependent on trade and cooperation with other societies. It brings nations closer together, motivating them to extend their diplomacy and avoid resorting to conflict, as it would cause mutual damage to their prosperity.

So, I think it’s important to step back and see the full picture from an historical context. The positive impact from the progress thus far has been truly amazing.

But of course, we still have challenges. Moving ahead, logistics must work harder on becoming clean and sustainable. And this can only be realized by using greener, more sustainable energy, and more efficient logistics. In the area of warehousing, all the fleets of AGVs and Mobile Robots are already powered by electricity. The mid- and long-haul transport solutions have more room for improvement and transition. But progress is being made, since it's a priority for almost every business out there – despite what the public perception might be. And so, I think logistics will improve dramatically in the coming years.

Other challenges are the world's booming population, the growth in the older generation and the challenges for business to sustain and retain the future workforce. These challenges will have major implications and will cause significant stress on our logistic hubs globally. However, I am convinced that we will find a solution to these challenges.

Personally, for me and my team at Kollmorgen AGVs & Mobile Robots, bringing solutions to these challenges is entirely aligned with our vision. This is what motivates us to empower businesses with the next generation of automated logistic technology. Not only is this time in history a great opportunity for us, our partners and customers, but it is also in the greater interest for the world we live in. It feels like we are at the right place at the right time, making our contribution to the next innovators, pioneers and future solutions that will help to push the world to an even better place.

If you or your business want help differentiating and keeping up with this changing environment, contact me or my team.

About the Author

Tobias Byfeldt

I am the proud leader of Kollmorgen’s AGV & Mobile Robots business. We have a scalable business model, a proven and robust Technology platform, but most important an Engaged, Aligned and Capable Team!

Our Vision is to Enable Innovators to make the world a better place, and that is exactly what we live for everyday! The need for flexible autonomous material handling is greater than ever and through our global partner network, our solutions reach end-users all around the world, making it better!

In my life, I have the luxury to work, collaborate and meet smart people who share my values, that is why I am smiling every day with my colleagues, with our partners and with my family!

Studied: Chemical Engineering at the University of Chalmers in Gothenburg.

You can reach me at [email protected] 

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