A New Push For Warehouse Automation, 9.2.20 – When the Coronavirus began its scary, unpredictable trek across the US in March and April, Joe Dunlap, head of Supply Chain Advisory for CBRE, checked in with his clients, who are supply chain, logistics, distribution and warehouse industry professionals.

Perhaps not surprisingly, they kept raising the same questions.

They would ask, ‘had I been ready for this and had more of my operations automated, would I have less of a strain with labor?’ Dunlap says. Another question: If part of my workforce were out of operation for being ill, would I have been able to process better?

As the pandemic wears on, this hyperfocus on automation continues.

When cataclysmic events happen, that kind of introspection isn’t surprising, according to Rich Thompson, international director, supply chain and logistics at JLL.

“Whenever there’s a pandemic or some big national disaster, like the tsunami in Japan several years ago, it puts a big spotlight on the global supply chain and, in many cases, how fragile that supply chain can be,” Thompson says. “That’s what we see again with this awful pandemic.”

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