Material handing industry embraces technology

MHI’s (formerly the Material Handling Institute) “2019 MHI Annual Industry Report” – prepared by the trade group and Deloitte – published company surveys showing an industry embracing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0, and some of the same technologies driving manufacturing.

Manufacturing/supply chain new technology investment plans by size by 2021

57% more than $1 million

34% more than $5 million

22% more than $10 million

Robotics, automation

Leading investment: $20 million average spend

3D printing/additive manufacturing (AM)

Trailing investment: $10 million average spend

Leading reasons for investment (extremely or very challenging)

  • Qualified worker shortage (more than 60%)
  • Customer demands for lower cost, faster delivery (more than 50%)
  • Increased competition, higher customer expectations (more than 50%)

Leading advanced technologies in use

  • Cloud computing (56%)
  • Inventory optimization tools (43%)
  • Sensors/radio frequency identification (RFID) (43%)

 Advanced technologies to be added within 5 years

  • Predictive analytics (57%)
  • IIoT (54%)
  • Blockchain authentication (52%)

Purchase plans by 2022

  • Forklifts/lift trucks 40%
  • Logistics/planning software 37%
  • Packaging/labeling equipment 35%
  • Racks/shelving/storage 33%
  • Automated guided vehicles (AGVs)/robots) 31%
  • Batteries/charging equipment 31%
  • Sensors/RFID 29%


“The pace of supply chain innovation over the six years of our survey is truly astounding, creating real and measurable competitive advantage for early adopters. With supply chain complexity showing no signs of slowing, the risk of inaction is only growing. Leading manufacturing and supply chain executives agree that technology is the key to future success.”

- George Prest, CEO of MHI

Source: 2019 MHI Annual Industry Report