The Future of Supply Chain Automation
The Future of Supply Chain Automation
As Amazon continues to set the bar for efficiency by integrating an astounding spectrum of automation technology, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that traditional supply chain models are ripe for disruption.
For this reason, companies around the world are now rethinking their warehouse and distribution systems, with automation taking center stage.
Today’s infographic from Raconteur highlights the state of automation across global supply chains, while also providing an outlook for future investment.
Long Time Coming
Let’s start by taking a look at what supply chain technologies are priorities for global industry investment in the first place:
|Rank||Technology||% of Companies* Investing in Tech|
|#3||Internet of things||41%|
|#14||Virtual reality and digital twins||6%|
*Based on survey of supply chain professionals in retail, manufacturing, and logistics fields
As seen above, warehouse automation has already received more investment (55%) than any other supply chain technology on the list, as companies aim to cut delivery times and improve overall margins.
Interestingly, other areas receiving significant investment—such as predictive analytics, internet of things, or artificial intelligence—are technologies that could integrate well into the optimization of supply chain automation as well.
Smoothing the Transition
While fully automated supply chains in most industries may still be a few years away, here is how companies are investing in an automated future today:
|Timeline For Acquiring New Automation Tech||% of Warehouse Managers Surveyed|
|Have, looking to upgrade||8%|
|Within 12 months||10%|
|One to three years||21%|
|Three to five years||8%|
|Over five years||3%|
According to the above data, over 70% have already integrated automation technology, or are planning to within the next five years. On the flip side, over a quarter of warehouse managers are not currently looking to integrate any new automation tech into their operations at all.
Adoption Rates and Growth
As supply chain automation gains momentum and industry acceptance, individual processes will have varying adoption rates.
Take order fulfillment, for instance. Here, only 4% of current operations are highly automated according to a recent survey from Peerless Research Group:
|Order Fulfillment Operations (Picking and Packaging)||Percentage of Respondents|
|A mix of automated and manual processes||42%|
|Mostly or all manual||49%|
Meanwhile, 49% of operations were primarily manual, illustrating potential for growth in this particular area.
It’s worth noting that other individual supply chain components, such as conveyor belts, storage, automated guided vehicles, and shuttle systems, will all have differing trajectories for automation and growth.
Post-COVID Supply Chains
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that complex supply chains can become fragile under the right circumstances.
As supply chains see increased rates of automation and data collection becomes more integrated into these processes, it’s possible that future risks embedded in these systems could be mitigated.
Nvidia Joins the Trillion Dollar Club
America’s biggest chipmaker Nvidia has joined the trillion dollar club as advancements in AI move at lightning speed.
Nvidia Joins the Trillion Dollar Club
Chipmaker Nvidia is now worth nearly as much as Amazon.
America’s largest semiconductor company has vaulted past the $1 trillion market capitalization mark, a milestone reached by just a handful of companies including Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. While many of these are household names, Nvidia has only recently gained widespread attention amid the AI boom.
The above graphic compares Nvidia to the seven companies that have reached the trillion dollar club.
Riding the AI Wave
Nvidia’s market cap has more than doubled in 2023 to over $1 trillion.
The company designs semiconductor chips that are made of silicon slices that contain specific patterns. Just like you flip an electrical switch by turning on a light at home, these chips have billions of switches that process complex information simultaneously.
Today, they are integral to many AI functions—from OpenAI’s ChatGPT to image generation. Here’s how Nvidia stands up against companies that have achieved the trillion dollar milestone:
|Joined Club||Market Cap|
|Peak Market Cap
Note: Market caps as of May 30th, 2023
After posting record sales, the company added $184 billion to its market value in one day. Only two other companies have exceeded this number: Amazon ($191 billion), and Apple ($191 billion).
As Nvidia’s market cap reaches new heights, many are wondering if its explosive growth will continue—or if the AI craze is merely temporary. There are cases to be made on both sides.
Bull Case Scenario
Big tech companies are racing to develop capabilities like OpenAI. These types of generative AI require vastly higher amounts of computing power, especially as they become more sophisticated.
Many tech giants, including Google and Microsoft use Nvidia chips to power their AI operations. Consider how Google plans to use generative AI in six products in the future. Each of these have over 2 billion users.
Nvidia has also launched new products days since its stratospheric rise, spanning from robotics to gaming. Leading the way is the A100, a powerful graphics processing unit (GPU) well-suited for machine learning. Additionally, it announced a new supercomputer platform that Google, Microsoft, and Meta are first in line for. Overall, 65,000 companies globally use the company’s chips for a wide range of functions.
Bear Case Scenario
While extreme investor optimism has launched Nvidia to record highs, how do some of its fundamental valuations stack up to other giants?
As the table below shows, its price to earnings (P/E) ratio is second-only to Amazon, at 214.4. This shows how much a shareholder pays compared to the earnings of a company. Here, the company’s share price is over 200 times its earnings on a per share basis.
|P/E Ratio||Net Profit Margin (Annual)|
Consider how this looks for revenue of Nvidia compared to other big tech names:
$NVDA $963 billion market cap, 38x Revenue
$MSFT $2.5 trillion market cap, 12x Revenue$TSLA $612 billion market cap, 7.8x Revenue$AAPL $2.75 trillion market cap, 7.3x Revenue$GOOG $1.6 trillion market cap, 6.1x Revenue$META $672 billion market cap, 6x Revenue pic.twitter.com/VgkKAfiydx
— Martin Pelletier (@MPelletierCIO) May 29, 2023
For some, Nvidia’s valuation seems unrealistic even in spite of the prospects of AI. While Nvidia has $11 billion in projected revenue for the next quarter, it would still mean significantly higher multiples than its big tech peers. This suggests the company is overvalued at current prices.
Nvidia’s Growth: Will it Last?
This is not the first time Nvidia’s market cap has rocketed up.
During the crypto rally of 2021, its share price skyrocketed over 100% as demand for its GPUs increased. These specialist chips help mine cryptocurrency, and a jump in demand led to a shortage of chips at the time.
As cryptocurrencies lost their lustre, Nvidia’s share price sank over 46% the following year.
By comparison, AI advancements could have more transformative power. Big tech is rushing to partner with Nvidia, potentially reshaping everything from search to advertising.
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