Manufacturing logistics and procurement – January 2022

04 February 2022

Developments in logistics
DHL has released the 2021 update of the DHL Global Connectedness Index (6.3 MB). This report provides a fresh view on the impact of the pandemic on globalisation by analysing international flows of trade, capital, information, and people. Also, the COVID-19 'stress test' revealed longstanding vulnerabilities that demand attention moving forward.
McKinsey has published an article about how COVID-19 is reshaping supply chains. Companies have only partly addressed the weaknesses in global supply chains exposed by the coronavirus pandemic. In the face of new challenges, finishing the job is even more urgent.

Implementation of robots and AI
According to an article published by Reichelt elektronik (in Dutch), over a third of the Dutch companies would approach an AI implementation differently in the current situation.
Eureka Robotics, a tech spin-off from Nanyang Technological University, has developed a technology that makes industrial robots nimbler and almost as sensitive as human hands, able to manipulate tiny glass lenses, electronics components, or engine gears that are just millimetres in size without damaging them. Stanford engineers have developed a robotic hand with a gecko-inspired grip. Aiming to create a robotic gripper that can grasp with delicate strength, researchers combine adhesives based on gecko toes with a customised robotic hand.
According to the ING the use of robots in food manufacturing is increasing. While robots are more common in the US than in the EU, several EU countries boast the highest levels of robotization. Better technology, the need to stay competitive and worker safety are driving the shift, with COVID-19 accelerating the process.
In a paper (3.4 MB) published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, UPV/EHU researchers show that the integration of Industry 4.0 technologies contributes in a positive way towards the circular economy, although not all technologies exert the same influence. Additive Manufacturing is displaying the greatest impact.

The European Commission’s proposed AI Act
Together, the International Federation of Robotics, the VDMA Robotics + Automation Association, EUnited Robotics and REInvest Robotics urgently call on European policymakers to revisit and amend the European Commission’s proposed AI Act and updated regulations on machinery products. The organisations state that the proposed act will cause severe damage to European small businesses, robotics companies and innovation.

Automation on the work floor
Deloitte has published its 13th Annual Tech Trends Report (10.8 MB). The report states that automation will be the emerging key to both sustaining and enhancing operations, while empowering workers. Deloitte has also released its Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) 2022 Predictions report, which highlights how worldwide trends in TMT may affect businesses and consumers worldwide.
According to a recent report by L.E.K. Consulting, process automation is playing a key role in all industrial markets. It enables a broad range of companies to reduce costs and waste and enhance outputs. You can download the report after filling in your details.

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