The key piece of material handling equipment that runs the global supply chain isn’t a forklift, an automated guided vehicle, or even the mighty pallet itself. It’s the cart. Automation is spreading slowly, and most distribution centers, warehouses, and retail outlets can’t function without a workforce of order pickers and a fleet of sturdy, reliable carts.
Supply chain disruption wasn’t just a pandemic phenomenon, as it turns out. As the world transitions to its new, post(ish)-pandemic normal, grocery leaders continue to worry about keeping food on the shelves. In fact, the industry’s concern has only grown as the pandemic has receded.
Passenger cars aren’t the only mode of transportation switching from gas to battery power. Light commercial vehicles—delivery vans, work pickups, cabover trucks—represented just 24,000 of the U.S.’s electric vehicles in 2021. By 2030, they’re expected to grow to nearly 4 million units. That means many fleet owners are currently trying to figure out how to make the transition. A big part of that project will be creating charging infrastructure.
Across industries, fleet managers are making plans for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. They may be municipalities converting bus fleets to electric; distributors upgrading delivery fleets; or manufacturers switching trucks or material handling vehicles to run on electricity. These managers of industrial EV fleets may already be familiar with a decades-old electric vehicle technology: Forklifts.