Panasonic Connect: Using AI to Solve Logistics Challenges

Panasonic Connect’s latest collaboration with Blue Yonder represents another step towards revolutionising supply chain management

As part of the Panasonic Group’s switch to an operating company system, Panasonic Connect was officially established in April 2022. 

Already, it has played a central role in the growth of Panasonic’s B2B solutions business, providing value to customers by combining advanced hardware, intelligent software solutions and a wealth of industrial engineering knowledge accumulated over the course of more than 100 years. 

A crucial cog in the Panasonic Connect machine is Blue Yonder, the leading end-to-end, digital fulfilment platform provider acquired in 2021. 

Together, the pair are working tirelessly to improve efficiency and reduce waste across the supply chain space. 

Revolutionising supply chain management 

Panasonic Connect initially made a 20% investment in Blue Yonder in 2020, before purchasing the remaining 80% for almost US$6bn a year later. 

The overarching aim of the transaction was to revolutionise supply chain management through the synergy between Blue Yonder's software and Panasonic’s industrial engineering expertise.

Speaking at the time, Simon Ellis, industry analyst and Program VP at IDC, said the acquisition was “indicative of what’s to come”.

He added: “With the increasing frequency and impact of supply chain disruptions, companies need data and visibility to make real-time operations decisions. 

“Panasonic’s resources and Blue Yonder’s innovation will accelerate the development of the tools customers need to anticipate and prevent disruptions and breathe autonomy into their supply chains.”

Panasonic Connect’s latest collaboration with Blue Yonder, a warehouse task optimisation engine, appears to represent another step towards realising the aforementioned revolution. 

Optimising warehouse tasks 

Supply chains are, of course, extremely complex systems involving numerous stakeholders, inevitably leading to wasted time and resources. 

Panasonic Connect Works Closely with Blue Yonder to Enhance Supply Chain Management. Picture: Panasonic

By improving efficiency and reducing such waste, Panasonic Connect and Blue Yonder are constantly looking to make significant contributions to customers’ businesses, society and the global environment. 

Their groundbreaking new AI-based technology optimises tasks in the warehouse to enhance efficiency and solve issues in logistics, with the aim of future implementation with Blue Yonder Warehouse Management solutions.

The engine is designed to link information on incoming and outgoing shipments with an AI algorithm that optimally allocates tasks to robot picking arms, automated warehouse systems and warehouse personnel, thus synchronising and optimising the preparation and shipment of goods.

The potential result is a dramatic reduction in the idle waiting time for trucks and drivers, which has become particularly problematic in Japan with legislation curbing truck driver overtime set to come into force in April. 

Panasonic Connect aims to provide this service as part of an open platform, with the aim of collaborating with diverse robotics companies that provide effective solutions for warehouse automation. 

As the first partner, a business alliance has also been announced with Rapyuta Robotics, which provides the Rapyuta ASRS automated warehouse solution. 

Panasonic Connect and Blue Yonder are set to continue their collaboration in a bid to tackle overall optimisation of the supply chain by combining hardware, software, edge technologies and AI, thereby contributing to solving societal issues and customers' management challenges as a world-class supply chain platform provider.

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