Manufacturing logistics and procurement – January 2024

31 January 2024

Developments in R&D
According to the EU Industrial 2023 R&D Investment Scoreboard (7.39 MB) of the European Commission, the top 2500 R&D investors in the world set a record for total investment in 2022, amounting to nearly €1.25 trillion, This is approximately 86% of the world's business-funded R&D, coming from companies based in 42 countries.

AI applications in packaging logistics
Deloitte’s 15th annual ‘Tech Trends’ report (8.62 MB) finds business leaders working to balance ‘shine’ and ‘substance’ to drive outsized business outcomes. It highlights how AI, including Generative AI, can liberate workers from the mundane, enabling them to concentrate on higher-value, future-oriented work, and boldly posits that in an age of creative machines, creative humans matter more than ever.
According to PwC’s 2023 Global Risk Survey, cyber and digital technology risks were a key concern for businesses and risk leaders in 2023, even as 60% see GenAI as an opportunity for their businesses.
According to the interpack organisation, digitalisation dominated the packaging industry in 2023. Digital technologies consequently were one of the hot topics at last year’s interpack. Especially the increasing use of AI creates whole new opportunities.
In December 2023, AI Alliance was launched: an international community of leading technology developers, researchers, and adopters collaborating together to advance open, safe, responsible AI.

Efficient packaging operations
Researchers from Utrecht University and the University of Twente have investigated the mathematical sphere packing problem Their study (2.08 MB) published in Nature Communications, demonstrates that a sausage-shaped bag is the most efficient packing for quantities up to 55 spheres. Beyond 55, a cluster becomes the best packing. It's an abrupt change that mathematicians refer to as the 'sausage catastrophe'.
A study (1.0 MB) by Beijing Jiaotong University, entitled; ‘Research on the behavioural choices of merchants, logistics enterprises and consumers participating in the recycling of excessive packaging for e-tailing goods’, is published in Cleaner Logistics and Supply Chain.
According to Quantao Yang’s doctoral thesis (1.18 MB), recently defended at Örebro University, robots could be capable of handling more complex tasks than they do today. Robots could also learn from one another, making the entire manufacturing industry more efficient.

The power of digital in operations
L.E.K. consulting has published a report (1.72 MB) about what it takes to harness the power of digital. Recognising that digital doesn’t stand alone, the authors looked at where and how digital is deployed to understand its importance and impact.

Packaging and automation in the warehouses of the future
In a recent report, PMMI examines how warehouse automation and the rise of direct-to-consumer (D2C) business among consumer packaged goods companies will change the landscape of fulfillment and warehousing operations. You can download a summary of the report after filling in your e-mail address.

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