Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Materials handling: The tide turns

By Bob Trebilcock, Editor at Large
August 06, 2013

As I’ve often written, I grew up in the materials handling industry. My Dad owned a company that manufactured and marketed wooden pallets, stretch film systems and other transport packaging products. In the summers, when other kids’ dads took them to baseball games and Disney in Orlando, my Dad took me on sales trips, visiting manufacturing plants in cities like Erie, Buffalo, Wheeling and Ft. Wayne. I saw America through the back lot of manufacturing plants in Midwestern factory towns.

The biggest test was meeting the father of a girl before a date. Inevitably, he’d ask what my Dad did and I’d say he sells pallets. That led to two questions.

What’s a pallet?

Once I answered that question, the next was: And you can make a living at that?

So, maybe I’ve had a little chip on my shoulder when I explain that I write about materials handling for a living. But two recent deals from Amazon give me, and should give everyone in our industry, a reason to smile.

The first is yesterday’s announcement that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, paid $250 million for the Washington Post. Now, the Post is one of the best-known names in newspaper journalism. As a paper, it has employed some of the real stars in the industry and been at the center of some of the most important stories of our times.

Meanwhile, I’m reminded that about 18 months ago, Amazon paid $800 million for Kiva Systems, a mobile robotic materials handling and order fulfillment system that had perhaps $100 million in sales at the time of the sale, as estimated by news organizations.

Who would have thought that a company providing order fulfillment solutions to warehouses with limited revenues would sell for more than 3 times that of one of the best-known names in journalism?

It demonstrates how important materials handling and logistics is to business today. 

About the Author

image
Bob Trebilcock
Editor at Large

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484 and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

The high-volume warehouse or distribution center that supports B2B, Omni-channel activities, direct-to-consumer shipments, and the Internet of Things all require a flexible and scalable supply chain in order to function at optimal capacity. The problem is that most of today's supply chains are made up of fragmented silos of information that compromise their ability to compete, be responsive to customer demands or seize new business opportunities.

As customers' demands constantly evolve, transportation and logistics (T&L) operations are being put under growing pressure to offer more efficient delivery services, while not compromising on customer service. Using findings from a research survey conducted among transport and logistics managers around the world, this report explores how a combination of mobile technology implementations for mobile workers, and process re-engineering efforts can elevate operations to the next level.

It's a fact - most best-of-breed WMS providers force you to pay every time you require a system change. Uncover five more dirty secrets many warehouse management systems providers don't want you to know. Download the white paper 5 Dirty Secrets of Warehouse Management Systems to discover these hidden truths and gain valuable information on considerations for evaluating WMS vendors.

Not Sure? The Whitepaper "Stay or Switch" Provides the Research Necessary for You to See How Well Your Provider Stacks Up!

Too many companies invest in ERP systems but do not achieve the business benefits they anticipated. Sometimes, the ERP solution never fits the way your people and processes work.

Article Topics

News · Materials Handling · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA