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The Next New Thing

Top 5 Technology Trends for
INDUSTRIAL TRUCK DISTRIBUTORS
Computerized diagnostics
Global positioning systems (GPS)
Fleet management software
Wireless technology
Mobile service
Top 5 Technology Trends for
STORAGE & HANDLING DISTRIBUTORS
Use of smart phones
Bar coding
Automated vertical lift systems
Videoconferencing
Improved account management
Top 5 Technology Trends for
ENGINEERED SYSTEMS DISTRIBUTORS
Robotics
Optical sensing/vision systems
Advanced control systems
Customer dashboards
E-commerce
Top 5 Technology Trends for
DIVERSE MIX DISTRIBUTORS
Mobile, wireless billing
Electronic tracking/RFID
Pick-to-light systems
Heads-up displays
GPS for diagnostics


It seems like every time you turn around, there’s a new gadget out there, from Blackberrys to Garmins to iPhones.

Material handling is no different. The machines and offices of today would be completely foreign to the material handling technicians of 20 years ago. In many cases, paper files have given way to computer servers and Rolodexes have been replaced by numbers stored in a cell phone. Turning a wrench is becoming secondary to punching a keyboard. We’ve all seen these changes in our industry within the last few years.

When asked what technology is most critical to business in today’s environment, distributors came back with a wide range of responses. Communication and research tools such as e-mail, the Internet, online newsletters, digital cameras, personal digital assistants and smart phones were all mentioned. Other distributors cited office software programs for accounting, contact management, accounts receivable, job costing, project design and inventory control.

Products are trending toward more automation, as distributors cited items such as automated guided vehicles and automated storage and retrieval systems.

But it’s easy to talk about the past and the present. The MHEDA Journal decided to investigate the future. What’s coming down the road? What’s the next big technology out there that material handling distributors will be utilizing? Of course, nobody really knows. As one material handling distributor pointed out, “What works yesterday doesn’t work today, and what works today may not work tomorrow.” But those of you out in the trenches did have plenty of speculation about what’s coming to a material handling distributorship near you.

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

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