Areas of Focus
The truth is logistics in all its forms is big business in Georgia. The state is the fifth largest overall logistics employer in the nation and rising fast. The Georgia Centers of Innovation has identified more than 12,300 logistics providers that employ more than 140,000 people. In addition, there are more than 33,000 logistics-consuming companies that critically rely on the efficient flow of freight to operate their business, according to the Center of Innovation for Logistics.
Going online to order a hammer that shows up at your door a short time later is a technological feat that few consumers are able to appreciate. Technology must be able to find the right item in the warehouse, pull and package for shipping and then be able to confirm shipment for the customer. It has to be done not just once, but hundreds and perhaps thousands of times a day. The explosive growth of online orders has forced a total redesign of warehouses and their operations.
“It becomes a challenge for warehouse and distribution centers, in that warehouses traditionally were designed to be pallet operations or case operations or detailed pick operations,” explains Tim Brown, academic program director of the Supply Chain & Logistics Institute at Georgia Tech. These days, warehouses have to be able to serve the “onesie and twosie” orders that serve consumers rather than the large cases that were typically ordered by stores. These problems have been good news for Georgia and its flagship engineering university, Georgia Tech.
“Because of that knowledge base at Georgia Tech, companies like Peach State Integrated Technologies have established their key operations here,” says Brown. In addition, material handling vendors – like Interroll – that make the equipment used inside these warehouses have also set up shop in the metro area. A prime reason has been access both to customers and to engineering talent.
Read Randy Southerland's article "Moving the World" in its entirety in GeorgiaTrend.