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Movies as a source of logistics inspiration

January 30, 2023 2300 Views
Guest column Dirk Beck | Warehouse Totaal | Film als logistieke inspiratiebron – december 2022
Automation 2019 Dirk Becks
Dirk Becks

Sometimes, a movie can really strike a chord with me as a logistics professional. One example is Monsters Inc., a Pixar animation featuring an immense factory with a huge transport and storage system for doors. The protagonists’ dizzying ride through that system reminds me of the route a product would take through a state-of-the-art pocket sorter in an omnichannel distribution centre. Many other films offer inspiration for innovation, such as Back to the Future and the inventions of Emmett Brown, or ‘Doc’ for short. Back in 1986, he was trying out futuristic techniques that are now widely used in logistics today, such as video calls, tablets and smart glasses. The only technology from the film that hasn’t yet materialized is the hoverboard – which is a shame, because that would undoubtedly enable us to make order picking even more efficient!

Rise of autonomous mobile robots

The current rise of robots in logistics was perhaps inspired by Wall-E. In this animated film, several autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) keep the planet neat and tidy by vacuuming up dirt and removing clutter. Nowadays, similar robots can be found in various warehouses, whether for cleaning floors, carrying inventory or picking items.

All these examples lead us to the same conclusion: the technological possibilities are endless. Sooner or later, everything we think up becomes reality – from gift-wrapping machines to robots flying through the aisles. In the future, robots will become an increasingly familiar sight in warehouses.


The big question is, what will be left for people to do? In Wall-E, humanity is condemned to a life of boredom due to the lack of work. Fortunately, that’s not the case for now. Quite the opposite, in fact; warehouses with AMR technology actually offer more of a challenge due to the need for the robots to be managed and maintained.

So if you’re keen to know how the warehouse of the future will look, I recommend that you watch a few more science-fiction or animated films. Stay tuned!

Dirk Becks

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