Twenty years ago, automation was perceived as a lethal weapon to use on your own employees. But as companies struggled to compete with their new, low-cost competitors, people began to see automation in a whole new light.
Makers of early wearable computers like the Gladiator limped away from the first battle for the auto ID market. Now they're getting ready to re-enter the arena. And this time, the battle's outcome promises to be different.
It's not often that a simple lot number saves the day. But during this summer's spinach scare, a lot number and the supplier's ace product tracking system helped lead FDA investigators to the source of the deadly E. coli outbreak.
Companies have little trouble justifying investments in equipment used to make goods—it's understood that machine tools, assembly equipment and the like are necessary to create wealth. But when it comes to material handling equipment, it's a different story.