Report: Companies Move Toward Automation to Combat Workforce Woes

A shortage of skilled labor is leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to invest in warehouse automation, according to a report released this past month by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.

The report—“Packaging and Automation in the Warehouses of the Future”—also says growing e-commerce activity and rising direct-to-consumer demands mean many CPG firms are seeing their warehousing and fulfillment operations become more complex, increasing the demand for mixed and layered pallets, according to a news release from PMMI.

“With these new trends, CPG companies are turning to warehouse automation solutions such as palletizers and mobile robots,” PMMI said about the report. “More than one in four (25%) warehouses will have some form of automation installed by 2027, leaping from just 14% in 2017 and 18% at the end of 2021.”

The PMMI survey says few warehouses are fully automated.

In another report in 2022, PMMI highlighted that the most immediate challenge facing companies is a lack of available labor.

“For some companies, it was a case of automating the line or stopping production,” according to PMMI. “CPG firms are starting to realize that a piecemeal approach to automation can be effective. Companies are increasingly demanding flexibility from their operations and the ability to alter output from production lines to meet fluctuating levels of demand.”