2020will certainly go down in history as the Year of COVID- 19, butmay- be it’ll also go down as the yearthe supply chain came to the rescue. It certainly looked diceyearly in the year, when retail shelves were bare, nobody—noteven healthcare workers—could find face masks, airports wereclosed off to international and in some cases even interstate travel, workers were told to go home and stay there, and millionsworldwide caught a deadly virus that nobody had even heard ofuntil recently. And yet, thanks to resilient supply chains able topivot almost at a moment’s notice, manufacturers shifted theirproduction capabilities to meet the unprecedented demand forthings like respirators, ventilators, face shields and other personal protective equipment that typically only industrial hygienistsand hospital staff were familiar with. Trucks, planes, boats andtrains figured out a way to get products to their customers, andthe last-mile capabilities of some retail superstars made homedelivery not just an occasional luxury for consumers but theirnew standard way of shopping. And while it was a Presidentialelection year, the biggest topic of conversation this fall centeredon how quickly a COVID- 19 vaccine could be developed, produced and distributed. Yes, 2020 was quite a year.
Despite the virus (or in some cases, because of), the supplychain advanced in many other ways as well. In the followingpages, we’ll look back at some of the most innovative, memorable or just plain awesome ways that technology and just-get-it-done inspiration have made supply chains better. We’llrevisit some of the most popular articles of thepast year, as reported in print, on our website,in our e-newsletters, or our various social media channels. So before we completely write off2020 with a “goodbye and good riddance,” let’stake a moment to celebrate the supply chain innovations that are giving us very real reason toanticipate better days to come in 2021!
Amazon AcquiresAutonomous VehicleDeveloper ZooxAmazon, whose reshaping of the e-com- merce landscape has come largely through its embrace of disruptivetechnologies like warehouse robots, machinelearning and cloud services, did it again. Notcontent with having its own fleet of deliverytrucks and even cargo planes, the online giantacquired Zoox, a company that designs autonomous ride-hailing vehicles. The deal was estimated at over $1 billion.
Zoox launched in 2014 with the vision ofpurpose-built, zero-emissions vehicles designed for autonomous ride-hailing, alongwith an end-to-end autonomy software stack.Its so-called “ground-up vehicle” focuses onthe ride-hailing customer, with tightly integrated features designed to enhance the pas
PRODUCT CARTS CANTILEVER CARTS CUSTOM CARTS
Creform ® carts present parts efficiently without boxes or dunnage.
Delivering parts to the shop floor without packaging keeps yourassociates assembling. A special-purpose Creform cart handles partssafely and presents them for easy access. Eliminating the linesidepackaging saves valuable time and space. At the station Creform cartswill get you the parts you really need, when you really need them.
Top 10 Supply Chain Innovations of 2020
MH&L salutes the most innovative advancements in supply chaintechnology, processes and labor management of the past year.
By Dave Blanchard and Adrienne Selko