This paper discusses the problem to design a generic planning and control architecture for utomated material handling systems (AMHSs). We illustrate the relevance of this research direction, and then address three different market sectors where AMHSs are used, i.e., baggage handling, distribution, and parcel & postal. The research in this paper is heavily motivated by a collaboration between the authors and a major global company supplying AMHSs. We analyze requirements from practice for a generic control architecture, and then review the literature to investigate whether these practical requirements have been met. From this confrontation of theory with practice, we conclude that many practical issues are not yet covered in the current literature. We take the initiative to define a research direction in concrete terms, pinpoint problems to work on, and propose an agenda for future research. Moreover, we take a step to propose a concept control architecture.