Sortation Systems on Board with Evolving Automation Requirements

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD), the sales through e-Commerce grew by 13% in 2017, and reached a staggering US$ 29 trillion. The global e-Commerce sector is witnessing phenomenal growth, and is redefining the modern retail landscape. The e-Commerce space is driven by a range of factors, including enticing promotional schemes, product launches, exclusive deals, and real-time updates, among others. This growth has directly impacted the growth of the global sortation systems market, which is projected to reach the ~US$ 2 billion mark by 2027.

The automation trend has spread its wings across a range of industry verticals, and sortation systems play an imperative role in assisting manufacturers in fulfilling their automation objectives. Sortation systems have found space in a range of industries, including eCommerce, food & beverages, pharmaceuticals, consumer packaged goods, and logistics. Companies operating in the sortation systems market are likely to focus on improving the quality, functionality, and design of their products, to cater to the evolving demands of their customers.

sortation systems market infographic

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End Users Inclined toward Highly Flexible and Efficient Automated Sortation Systems

Sortation systems play an imperative role in improving the order fulfillment and material handling capabilities of logistic service providers. Owing to significant advancements in technology, different types of sorting systems such as tilt-trays, cross-belts, narrow-belts, and sliding-shoes, among others, are available. However, with a collective market share of ~61% in 2019, tilt-tray and cross-belt systems are expected to remain the most sought-after sorters over the forecast period (2019-2027).

Tilt trays have gained significant popularity across the food & beverage and e-Commerce sectors, as they provide highly secure automated sorting. Further, the design of a tilt tray is relatively simple, and does not involve a lot of moving elements. Owing to these benefits and high return on investments provided by tilt trays, this segment is set to grow at a CAGR of ~5% during the assessment period. Despite the growing adoption of tilt-trays, cross-belt sorters are set to dominate the sortation systems market, as they are capable of handling different types of products, have the best sorting rate, and produce low noise levels. However, due to steep initial investments required to install tilt trays and cross-belt sorters, small- to medium-sized businesses are leaning toward economical alternatives such as narrow-belt sortation systems.

Sortation Systems Market – Shaping the Course of e-Commerce

At present, state-of-the-art sortation systems influence nearly all operations in e-Commerce warehouse. Furthermore, heavily driven by advancements in technology, sortation systems have opened the gates to cost-effective and highly streamlined fulfillment operations. Sorters are experiencing consistent waves of innovation to enable them to serve the evolving requirements and operations of the e-Commerce sector. Two notable advances in the sortation systems market that are likely to influence order fulfillment operations of the future include improved capabilities in handling polybag packaging and consolidation of automated goods-to-person systems and sortation systems.

The e-Commerce industry is set to assert its dominance in the sortation systems market, accounting for over 30% share over the course of the forecast period. In the current scenario, the adoption of pouch and pocket sorters is on the rise, owing to their exceptional capabilities of addressing a host of challenges faced by e-Commerce players involved in the durable consumer goods and fashion business, especially related to cost-savings. With growing affinity toward the use of polybags for packaging, the demand for reengineered shoe sorters is expected to move in an upward trajectory in the near future.

Stakeholders Focus on Expanding Product Range

With the fast-paced evolution of e-Commerce, food & beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturing spaces, order fulfillment, material handling, and other warehouse operations demand flexible, efficient, and cost-effective sortation solutions. Companies operating in the sortation systems market are focusing on expanding their product portfolios to gain a competitive edge. For instance, in October 2019, MHS launched two new sortation systems – the HC Smalls sliding shoe sorter and the HC-Loop cross-belt sorter, to solve throughput challenges faced by its customers.

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Precision, Profitability, and Speed Required in Sorting to Fuel Demand for Efficient Sortation Systems

  • According to Transparency Market Research’s latest market report on the sortation systems market for the historical period of 2014-2018 and forecast period of 2019-2027, the growing e-Commerce industry has transformed the process of order fulfilment and sortation, which is projected to drive the growth of the sortation systems market.
  • Globally, revenue generated by the sortation systems market has been estimated to be ~US$ 1.3 Bn in 2019, and is projected to expand at a CAGR of ~5% in terms of value during the forecast period.

Sortation Systems to Enhance Order Processing Efficiency and Accuracy

  • Sortation plays a crucial role in optimizing order fulfilment processes. Sortation systems enable efficient receiving, picking, packing, and shipping, and also reduce room for errors. This reduces the operation time as well as cost of distribution. Thus, by replacing manual sorting with automated sortation systems, productivity and accuracy can be increased significantly, which results in high output.
  • Furthermore, sortation systems are capable of precisely controlling gaps, as they operate at a constant speed. This controlled speed of operation makes the sorting process more efficient, which aids in reducing return rates.
  • Thus, the demand for sortation systems is likely to rise substantially as distribution centres and warehouses continue to demand automated systems for enhancing their operational capabilities, as such, boosting the growth of the global sortation systems market.

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