March 31, 2021
In a recent study conducted by Peerless Research Group, all trends indicate that manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution organizations are making a commitment to invest in robotic forklifts in the coming year. Despite economic uncertainty, the study showed that 67% of companies reported that their adoption timeline of self-driving industrial vehicles accelerated or stayed the same in 2020.
While the intention is clear, the road to adopting automation can raise many questions. Many organizations that have never adopted robotic forklifts assume that this technology is not for them. However, assumptions can stand in the way of making easy automation gains. Unfortunately, those companies suffer in the long term, losing out to labor challenges, the cost of doing nothing, and ultimately fall behind.
The good news is: adopting automation is not as hard you might think. In this article, we’ll cover common assumptions and tactical ways to move past them.
Here are some common assumptions and what you need to know to work past them.
In the past, we’ve talked about the Crawl, Walk, Run approach to deploying autonomous mobile robots. In this article, I aim to give you three actionable things you can do right now to move past common assumptions and plan to incorporate self-driving forklifts in your facility.
Pallet movement is the foundation for any robotic forklift deployment. Look for areas in your operations where people are spending time moving pallets. These non-value-added tasks are great adoption areas for autonomous mobile robots. If you’re unsure where to look, here are some common areas where workers spend a lot of time moving pallets:
After using the exercise above to define an application, you should start educating your staff on potential workflow changes. It’s never too early to talk about your reasons for investigating new material handling robots. Technological change is about empowering people. What’s more: employee attitudes from management to floor staff can make or break a project. Adopting the latest warehouse technology should be seen as enhancement tool – not a threat. Here are some ways to get your team on board before you even go live with robotic forklifts:
Vecna Robotics offers support for pre-deployment and post-deployment education for every stakeholder in your organization, from senior management to MHE operators. During the go-live period, our team is on the ground in your facility to provide education, answer questions, and ensure robots are working with your processes as smoothly as possible.
Often when we think about installing new autonomous solutions in our industry, we think of all the things that have historically come along with it: IT networking, infrastructure, construction, and more. These can add up to significant costs, plus the cost of interruption to your workflow. Good news! Autonomous Mobile Robots do not require the heavy infrastructure changes of the past. Think of an AMR deployment as adding a new type of material handling equipment to your fleet. No private network, no facility modification, no operational downtime required. Just a different kind of MHE to drop in and lighten the load on stretched staff.
In conclusion, overcoming assumptions is the first step to realizing that getting started with robotic forklifts is not as hard as you might think. By taking concrete steps to improve your facility readiness, staff readiness, and to understanding associated costs, you’ll be well on your way to greater operational efficiency in no time.