In a series of blog articles, the Product/Solutions Marketing team explores new business challenges and innovation solutions to change the game and manage disruptions. The following are the insights gained from the recently held ProMat 2023 event and my discussion with Ann Marie Jonkman, who leads Blue Yonder’s 3PL Industry Strategy.

ProMat is an Important Indicator

We spent an amazing four days at ProMat 2023 in Chicago last week, with a record breaking 50,000+ attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors. And we loved the energy on the exhibit floor, starting from the opening hour. We were also pleasantly surprised with the ongoing flow of existing customers wanting to reconnect and new visitors wanting to learn about us:

From ProMat’s survey, 38% of attendees plan on spending over $1M over the next 18 months and 66% are exploring solutions for distribution centers or warehouses supporting manufacturing.

The Top 3 categories of interests from the survey include:

  • Automation and Robotics
  • Autonomous Vehicles, including Mobile Robots, Fork Trucks and Drones
  • Software and Data Analytics, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

No wonder we had such a constant flow of customers in this recording breaking year given we are an end-to-end, AI/ML, predictive, supplychain, logistics, and edge software, and service provider.

Key Takeaways from ProMat

From our discussions with very enthusiastic customers, the key initiatives that they are taking on include:

  1. Warehouse automation and the need to connect to multiple automation vendors.
  2. Labor management especially on topics such as influencing behaviors and improving staff retention.
  3. First-to-last mile delivery and how to improve customer service.
  4. Overall digital transformation of the warehouse, transportation, or the entire logistics footprint.

Echoing the ProMat survey, customer investment timeframes are short to medium term. They attended the event to learn as much as possible about new technologies, so that they can develop transformation plans leveraging them. This is the reason why, after helping our customers’ digital transform their logistics and supply chain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, our theme for this event was First-to-Last-Mile Optimization.

Logistics’ New Tomorrow

In conversations with my Blue Yonder colleague, Ann Marie Jonkman, and customers at the event about the new tomorrow of logistics, some great insights were gleaned:

  1. As a result of the current economic situation and the continued labor shortage, we will see jumps in adoption of automation. We will see even more co-bots working with humans, for example.
  2. 3PL companies and untraditional companies will partner together to offer creative solutions to meet the changing demands from end customers. For example, consumers are now used to getting deliveries within a four-hour window or two days. Blue Yonder can offer solutions to help meet these expectations, as well as offset the costs.
  3. Sustainability will become an active KPI as consumers demand it.
  4. AI/ML will be used in robust ways in everyday tasks in warehouse and transportation operations, optimizing operations and getting ahead of disruptions.     

Learn More

Visit this webpage about our First-to-Last-Mile Optimization solutions. Learn more from the Unified Logistics and Omni-Channel Execution e-book.

More Insights to Come

In an upcoming Part 3 article, we will get more insights from Ann Marie about sustainability and other important initiatives 3PL and 4PL companies will be taking on.