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  Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap
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Second Physical Internet Conference features Roadmap, highlights synergies with European logistics Roadmaps
In July, the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling and Logistics was featured at the Second International Physical Internet Conference, held in Paris. This year, Gary Forger, Managing Director of Professional Development at MHI, delivered a Plenary address focused on the relationship between the Roadmap and the Physical Internet (PI) Initiative.

The original idea for the PI comes from Benoit Montreuil, Professor and Coca-Cola Material Handling & Distribution Chair at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). To increase efficiency, profitability, sustainability and resilience throughout supply chains, Montreuil proposes an open, global and hyperconnected logistics system that deploys a standardized set of collaborative protocols and modular containers. Adding smart interfaces to the components enables universal tracking and communication, collectively leveraging multiple, openly interconnected supply networks.

Nearly 260 participants from Europe, Asia, North America and Africa attended the 2015 PI Conference—more than double the 120 who attended the inaugural event in 2014. To Montreuil, the growth in participation reflects larger public acknowledgement of the concept’s relevance and importance to the supply chain of the future.


Physical Internet

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Join the Roadmap on LinkedIn: Industry members are encouraged to join the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics Group on LinkedIn and to follow @MHLRoadmap on Twitter.


October 4 – 7, 2015: 2015 MHI Executive Summit and Annual Conference
The U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling and Logistics will be featured in two separate sessions during the 2015 MHI Executive Summit and Annual Conference. The Conference runs October 4-7 at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Both Roadmap sessions are on Monday, October 5.


Welcome to the Future

June 12, 2025

Gaithersburg, MD. John Alvarez has been under his classic 1996 silver Corvette for three and a half hours. He’s sweating profusely, but doing what he loves—restoring old cars. His search for the source of a small oil leak is finally over—a leaking right valve cover gasket. “MyEye, stock check.”

“Yes, sir?” responds a small SmartPin clipped to his shirt. “Is there a right valve cover gasket for my Corvette in this town?”

“Checking, sir, please wait…” After confirming the meaning of “valve cover gasket” and “my Corvette” with appropriate databases, SmartPin sends a stock request via wireless connection to a central database for automotive supplies: “Stock check, right valve cover gasket for a 1996 Chevrolet Corvette, 5.7 liter V8, 4-speed, convertible. Near address: 2049 Mockingbird Lane, Gaithersburg, MD.”

“I have found a source, sir. Please check MyEye to confirm.” Still under the car, John shifts his focus to the eyes up display in his right contact lens as it projects photographs and technical details for the part.

“Next page…. Next page. Yes, that’s it. Please order for immediate delivery.”

“On the way, sir.” The order is immediately placed and paid for. Inside the local auto parts store, a 3D printer begins the job. Ten minutes later, it’s done.

The store’s CrowdDeliver system broadcasts a request for delivery to thousands of participating mobile devices. A notification pops up in the car of Jeff Hart, who lives in John’s neighborhood but has never met him. Jeff is on his way back from his daughter’s gymnastics meet, and only two blocks from the auto parts store. He clicks “Got it” and takes a left toward the store.

A clerk greets him at the service window, “Here you go, Mr. Hart. Do you see the address?” “Yep, it came up right there. I’ve been wanting to meet John for some time.”
“Thank you sir, we’ve credited your account.”

Ten minutes later, Jeff pulls into the driveway of John Alvarez, who is still under his Corvette.

“John, I’m Jeff Hart from down the street. Here’s your gasket. Nice car.”

Sound far fetched?

It’s not.

This is the future, as envisioned by the contributors and authors of the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics. The Roadmap offers a visionary look at how the material handling and logistics industry will change between now and 2025. It identifies both driving trends and the transformations ahead that will make the above scenario a commonplace occurrence.

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