Vecna Robotics and Peerless Research conducted a research study on behalf of Modern Materials Management to evaluate the adoption rate of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). The research study includes responses from over 160 participants from a variety of industries. Most respondents, (67%) are in manufacturing. Other respondents work in wholesale trade, retail trade, consulting services, or the 3PL field. The research focuses on supply chain adoption and usage of AGVs and AMRs. The questions examine how the technology is being used, and discusses its future impacts on a broad range of industries. The results of the study provided great insight into the trends and challenges of automation adoption.
COVID-19 redirected the focus and priorities of every business leader. 76% of organizations ranked business continuity and resiliency as a very or extremely important priority. The uncertainty of the pandemic’s impact pushed leaders to consider their organization’s ability to survive during challenging times. Distribution centers’ operational struggles that existed pre-pandemic were exacerbated by the crisis. The evolving and unpredictable pandemic changed organization’s plans, opinions, and priorities for the future.
Key findings from the recent survey of Modern Materials Management magazine showed that readers values are changing as a result of the pandemic. There is more emphasis on safety (88% say this is “very important”) and throughput (65%). Two years from now, the focus will shift with training (89%), ergonomics (68%), environmental sustainability (68%), and cycle times (67%) all claiming their respective spots near the top of the priority list.
In addition, readers are reporting the increased adoption of AGVs, AMRs, and other material handling technologies in manufacturing, distribution, retail, and third-party logistics settings. The barriers to adopt automation are clear. Capital investment is a great challenge to start adopting technology. The need for flexible solutions and pricing options are critical to organizations considering adoption. The ability to adapt to evolving demands is key for surviving the pandemic and other future changes.
The results in the research brief give insights into the needs of warehousing, distribution, and manufacturing audiences. Vecna Robotics made operational changes in 2020 to serve our customers with flexible solutions. The company offers a Robotics-as-a-Service pricing option which preserves capital and prepares facilities for whatever comes next. Survey respondents also shared their experience with labor shortage. Vecna Robotics understands that facilities need a strong workforce to combat today’s surging e-commerce demand. Autonomous material handling equipment collaborates with the human workforce for increased efficiency. Laborers can now work on less dangerous and more engaging work.
Vecna Robotics uses research study results to better understand the concerns and needs of our customers. The robotics company makes actionable decisions to meet the individual needs of facilities. Increased efficiency, throughput, and flexibility are the goals we strive to meet for our customers.
Warehouse autonomation such as Vecna Robotics’ autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are taking a load of stress off of overwhelmed warehouses and distribution centers. Forbes Magazine covered the recent upswing in automation adoption and the role robots play in improving supply chain efficiency. The COVID-19 pandemic changed consumer behavior in a way that will not be reversed. E-commerce demand is booming and facilities are turning to robotic solutions to manage the surge.
Forbes calls attention to the diverse operations robots can carry out within facilities. Popular automated solutions are filling the traditionally grueling, repetitive, and low wage roles of laborers. Automating these roles releases the human workforce to execute more desirable tasks. There is plenty of work to be done, assigning robots the dangerous and undesirable roles empowers facility personnel.
Vecna Robotics is rapidly growing in the market of autonomous pallet handling robots. The company’s fleet of automated equipment expanded in 2020 with the release of the Autonomous Counterbalanced Fork Truck. Vecna Robotics’ solutions stand apart from competitors because they are path planning vehicles as opposed to path following automated guided vehicles (AGVs). Path planning allows the vehicle to make fewer stops and navigate freely and cautiously around obstacles. This allows human workers to focus on their tasks without the interruptions caused by AGVs.
Warehouse automation has been growing in popularity. Integrating robots into warehouse workflows increases productivity and maximizes throughput. Forbes reports that American robotics industry sales have exploded with a 63.6% increase in a single quarter of 2019. The pandemic has accelerated this growth rate dramatically. RIA statistics show that North American companies ordered 31,044 robotic units, valued at roughly $1.6 billion in 2020.
The trend to adopt warehouse automation is catching on with the recognition that there is a huge opportunity for improved productivity and labor efficiency. However, implementing modern technology in legacy systems can be a challenge. Flexible systems are key to seamless integration. AMR solutions paired with orchestration technology enable more flexible and resilient operations as demands fluctuate day-to-day and season-to-season. The roles of automated material handling robots are expanding and facilities are now relying on their support to meet their demands.
Read the full Forbes article here.
Learn more about Vecna Robotics’ AMRs here.
Industry leading publication, Supply & Demand Chain Executive, has announced the winners of the 2021 Pros to Know award. The award recognizes outstanding executives whose accomplishments offer a roadmap for other leaders looking to leverage supply chain for competitive advantage. Two members of the Vecna Robotics leadership team, Daniel Theobald and Zachary Dydek were named to the aspirational list. For the last 21 years, SDCE’s editorial has vetted hundreds of nominations for the annual award, finding the best leaders in the supply chain industry.
The COVID-19 global pandemic sent the world into chaos. As a result of the crisis, stock outs were normalized and every industry made efforts to adjust accordingly. Professionals in the supply chain were unsung heroes of the crisis. These leaders played key roles in restocking essentials items and supporting supply chain efficiency. These efforts required extreme resiliency, fast action, and the adaptation of strategies, investment and leadership. According to a study by S&P Global Market Intelligence, 80% of enterprises agree the demands of dealing with COVID-19 have provided an opportunity for companies to make procedural or operational changes that will better benefit the business in the long run.
Daniel Theobald, Founder and CEO, and Zachary Dydek, CTO, led Vecna Robotics through the pandemic. Their efforts allowed the company – and their customers – to remain successful, and continue delivering goods nationwide. Despite the challenges, Vecna Robotics found innovative ways to deliver autonomous solutions to customers. Autonomous mobile robots are a tool for warehouses to increase throughput and stay ahead of surging demand.
As Chief Technology Officer for Vecna Robotics, Zachary Dydek is responsible for setting the long-term product vision and ensuring the company remains the technology leader in autonomous material handling. He is also one of the key architects to Vena Robotics’ world-class proprietary autonomy stack, and under his leadership, the team performs cutting-edge research in navigation, high-level autonomy, machine perception and more.
As the CEO and founder of Vecna Robotics, Daniel Theobald brings decades of experience leading research scientists and teams of engineers in developing cutting–edge technology. He currently has 67 issued patents and more than 30 patents pending. Theobald has been at the forefront of robotics for more than 20 years, helping others advance the use of robots and AI software to improve supply chain automation. Theobald dedicates himself to the idea that technology can empower people worldwide to live more fulfilling lives.
Supply & Demand Chain Executive 2021 Pros to Know Award joins a list of accolades Vecna Robotics earned this year. Vecna Robotics was named to Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2021. In addition, Vecna Robotics named SWE WE Local 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Partner Award.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Vecna Robotics is highlighting the work and lives of women in tech. According to SWE Research only 13% of all engineers are female. Jenna Hormann, Test Engineer on the Validation team at Vecna Robotics shares her experiences in life, education, and career. Jenna explains how and why she became an engineer as well as the obstacles and triumphs she has experienced as a woman in tech.
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey with two older brothers. My mom was an English teacher, and both of my brothers as well as my dad were engineers. Because of that you’d think I’d have known from a young age that I wanted to follow in their footsteps, but that wasn’t the case. All growing up I would begrudgingly help my dad fix the car or install floorboards or something, and there are so many pictures of me holding a wrench and not smiling. I was shy and serious as a kid, but very observant. It makes me laugh because as an adult, I am the opposite of serious.
It wasn’t until high school that I acknowledged my interest in science and technology. I’m grateful for the early exposure. I learned from an early age that my interests and career options aren’t limited, whether it was something I wanted to pursue or not.
I attended Northeastern University here in Boston, and studied Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biomechanics. I didn’t start my first full-time engineering job until about two years after graduating, actually. Some of that time I was travelling, and some of that time I was working in a restaurant, both of which I really enjoyed. I was worried that it would be difficult to find an engineering job having been out of college for so long. But I knew that sticking to my own timeline was what was best for me. More companies are focused on finding the right culture fit and know that candidates who follow different paths can add just as much value as those who follow traditional paths.
I am currently a Test Engineer on the Validation team at Vecna Robotics. It is my team’s job to find potential failures in our products before we release them to customers. We also run tests to validate any design changes and ensure that we are making the best decisions for a robust design. I love my job because I get to interact with all parts of the robot and work with every discipline – mechanical, electrical, and software. Every day is different, and it involves a lot of problem solving. I like that it’s hands-on and it’s fun when your goal is to break things instead of building them. I think I’m better at breaking things.
I wish I had one of those crazy inspiring stories about helping people. Honestly, I think the first moment I can clearly recall was when I was standing in line at Disney. I watched the animatronics and thought, “Could I make that??” I was definitely a teenager by then, but ever since then I’ve just wanted to make cool stuff.
I used to try to involve myself in STEM events as much as possible because I loved showing kids that there’s nothing stopping them from pursuing a career in tech. Sometimes it was doing activities with young children to show them that they were capable, and other times it entailed sitting on a panel answering questions that older students had about being in the field. I think it’s important to be candid and address the concerns that make them hesitant to join the industry.
Yes, it can be difficult, but it’s absolutely doable if it’s what you’re interested in. No, you don’t have to have to be a straight A+ student. No, you don’t have to fit the mold of what people think a stereotypical engineer looks like – you can be feminine and social and still like to get your hands dirty. Fewer and fewer people are having these limited impressions as the times change, and it’s wonderful, but we definitely still have a way to go.
Relatively speaking, I’m pretty fortunate in that I never really experienced too much adversity as some women in tech until I entered the workforce through internships and full-time positions. The greatest challenge for me as a female engineer has been finding and maintaining confidence in my work. When I first started my career, I was always afraid to make mistakes. Partly because of who I am as a person, but also because of the pressure I feel being one of the few women in tech. Unconscious bias doesn’t help either. When you find your ideas being dismissed, you can’t help but wonder why. Is it because because you’re a female, because you’re young, or simply because it wasn’t the best idea? Most of the time it’s truly none of those, but it can still be difficult to find the courage to stand your ground.
It wasn’t until one of my previous managers assured me that very few people are 100% sure of themselves, and that they are just more confident about taking their best educated guess, that I started to slowly use my voice more. It’s important to remind yourself that you’re not any less competent for making mistakes, as long as you’re learning from them.
Finding mentors and peers to help navigate these situations and feelings has been incredibly helpful to me. I gain great insights from those who have already been through certain scenarios. It’s inspiring to see a powerful female executive who seems cool and collected. Still, it’s just as inspiring to feel supported by the women in tech closer to your level helping each other through similar challenges. I also think it’s good to get in the habit of celebrating each other’s achievements more frequently so that your confidence can gain momentum.
I think establishing women’s groups is a good place to start, or some sort of mentor matchup program to facilitate these relationships. I’ve seen a lot of companies doing this already and I think it’s great. Other efforts such as acknowledging the accomplishments of women by celebrating Women’s History Month, show support and appreciation for a company’s female employees.
I never feel like being a woman in tech explicitly prevented me from moving up in my career. But I do believe that I’ve been held back by the personal belief that I couldn’t thrive in certain roles due to the qualities that women inherently tend to have. I’d always figured that I wouldn’t be a good leader or would have trouble making effective decisions because of my emotional nature. I’ve since learned that emotional intelligence actually works to my advantage. It’s hard to break those preconceived notions but I think seeing more examples of different personalities in higher positions has broadened my view.
Don’t be afraid to take risks. It sounds terribly cliché but it can feel like there’s pressure to be perfect when you’re in the minority as a woman. Also, find your strengths and continue to develop them. It can be overwhelming to be constantly learning new things and feel like you haven’t mastered anything yet. Leverage what you are good at; that will help you stay grounded and confident.
Read More Humans of Robotics stories here.
AMR and Workflow Orchestration Company Ranks 4th in the Logistics Category on List of World’s Most Innovative Companies
Waltham, MA — March 9, 2021 — Vecna Robotics, the autonomous mobile robot (AMR) and workflow orchestration company, today announced it has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2021. The list ranks Vecna Robotics as 4th in the logistics category worldwide. Read about the company’s inclusion on the list here.
The list honors the businesses that have found a way to be resilient in the past year and to turn challenges into impact-making processes. These companies did more than survive, they thrived—making an impact on their industries and culture as a whole. This year’s World’s Most Innovative Companies list features 463 businesses from 29 countries.
“It is an honor to make the list alongside with so many other impressive and impactful global organizations. It’s a testament to the outstanding team here and their tireless efforts to drive innovation in support of our customers and people from all walks of life around the world,” said Daniel Theobald, founder and CEO, Vecna Robotics. “The challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought the need for more flexibility and resilience in our supply chains into sharp focus. We are proud to provide manufacturers, shippers, and retailers the ability to automate with confidence, getting goods where they need to go quickly and efficiently while keeping people safe. This recognition from Fast Company acknowledges that we continue to deliver on this promise every day.”
Where most robotics companies create hardware and software specific to one task, Vecna Robotics takes a holistic approach. That is, they tackle the hardest problems in supply chain workflow and using automation and continuous learning. This mission led to the development of Pivotal™, the world’s first multi-agent continuous learning orchestration engine.
Pivotal does three things:
In short, the solution provides warehouses with system-wide orchestration, unifying and seamlessly allocating tasks between humans, robots and equipment to increase efficiency and productivity. This has helped to increase productivity at some customer sites by 116% and decrease non-value-added travel by up to 80%. In addition, pairing AMRs and Pivotal empowers human workers to pursue more fulfilling and less dangerous, repetitive work.
Fast Company Deputy Editor David Lidsky oversaw the issue with Senior Editor Amy Farley. He comments on the selection criteria with a focus on resilience in a year of unprecedented challenges. “The companies on this list exhibit fearlessness, ingenuity, and creativity in the face of crisis,” said Lidsky.
Fast Company’s editors and writers sought out the most groundbreaking businesses across the globe and industries. They also judged nominations received through their application process.
The WMIC is Fast Company’s signature franchise and one of its most highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. It provides a snapshot and a road map for future innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy.
Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March/April 2021) is now available online here: https://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2021
Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future of business. The editor-in-chief is Stephanie Mehta. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication Inc., and can be found online at www.fastcompany.com.
Vecna Robotics has been named the recipient of The Society of Women Engineers WE Local 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Partner Award. For more than six decades, SWE has given women engineers a unique place and voice within the engineering industry. The SWE strives to advance and honor the contributions of women at all stages of their careers as well as recognize the successes of SWE members and individuals who enhance the engineering profession through contributions to industry, education and the community. WE Local Awards provide additional opportunities to recognize outstanding SWE members, SWE groups and individuals.
The Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Partner Award recognizes groups that promote diversity and inclusion and show commitment to SWE and/or SWE’s mission and goals. Vecna Robotics has received the SWE WE Local 2021 Award based on the following qualifications.
Vecna Robotics was named the winner of the SWE WE Local 2021 Award for both internal and external efforts which support diversity and inclusion. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at Vecna Robotics aims to: create internal awareness of the unique qualities contributed by each member of the team; ensure a diverse candidate pool and equitable hiring and internal application processes; promote inclusiveness and diversity in STEM for the communities we live and deploy robots in through education and community service; and ensure the accessibility of our internal tools and solutions to all that use them. Vecna Robotics has also hosted events for Women in Robotics. Women in Robotics is a professional network for women who who work in or aspire to work in the robotics industry.
Read more about Vecna Robotics events with Women in Robotics:
Read about other awards Vecna Robotics has received:
From Chaos to Transformation: Cleantech Group Announces 2021 Global Cleantech 100 list of Companies Committed to Delivering the Future and Vecna Robotics is Honored to be Selected
Waltham, MA – 15 December 2020, Vecna Robotics:
Out of thousands of innovators from across the globe, Vecna Robotics, the autonomous mobile robot and workflow orchestration company, was named a 2021 Global Cleantech 100 Company by Cleantech Group. Delivering solutions that will take us from climate chaos to transformation, the 100 companies on the list represent the private, independent and for-profit companies best positioned to contribute to a more digitized, de-carbonized and resource-efficient future. This is the 12th edition of the widely respected annual guide. This year’s list includes innovators from 15 countries, with just over half located in the US and the rest hailing from Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. The sectors covered include: Agriculture & Food, Enabling Technologies, Energy & Power, Materials & Chemicals, Transportation & Logistics and Resources & Environment.
The Global Cleantech 100 list combines Cleantech Group’s research data with qualitative judgements from nominations and insight from a global, 91-member Expert Panel of leading investors and executives from corporations and industrials active in technology and innovation scouting. From pioneers and veterans to new entrants, the Expert Panel broadly represents the global cleantech community and results in a list with a powerful base of respect and support from many important players within the cleantech innovation ecosystem.
The Global Cleantech 100 program continues to be sponsored by Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company.
“We are delighted to welcome 50 companies for their first time on this year’s new Global Cleantech 100. This replacement rate speaks to the healthy maturing of this innovation ecosystem and to some specific impacts of Covid-19,” said Richard Youngman, CEO, Cleantech Group. “On the one hand, the 2021 list reflects the long-running mega-trends like decarbonization, digitization, electrification, and the ever-increasing volumes of deployed renewable energy. On the other, Covid-19’s impact is evident – for example, in the uptick in automation and robotics-enabled solutions, in logistics and supply chain solutions, and solutions in the food chain to prevent, reduce and repurpose food waste. Resilience is a new critical factor at play.”
Read about other awards Vecna Robotics has received:
MassTLC – Top Tech 50 Awards – Vecna Robotics received two nominations for MassTLC’s Tech Top 50 program in the Business Accomplishment category and the Company Culture category!
The Tech Top 50 program aims to recognize the people, products, and companies that have made an impact this year. 2020 has been an unpredictable year full of ups and downs. Through a time of unknowns, one thing has remained consistent, and that is the power of the MA tech community. MassTLC recognizes 50 leaders across 5 categories for the Tech Top 50 awards.
See more on MassTLC’s website here.
Vecna Robotics’ Nomination for Business Accomplishment – Vecna Robotics is a Waltham-based autonomous mobile robot (AMR) and workflow orchestration company. Leading organizations in distribution, warehousing and manufacturing rely on Vecna Robotics’ AMRs and AI-orchestration system, Pivotal, to streamline their materials handling and logistics operations. The company’s technology has been crucial to its customers’ success and survival in the wake of COVID-19.
Vecna Robotics has had a number of accomplishments this year, including:
Waltham, MA — December 9, 2020 — Vecna Robotics, the autonomous mobile robot and workflow orchestration company, today unveiled its autonomous counterbalanced fork truck, a highly versatile, safe, intelligent and integrated pallet-handling solution. The first in the company’s Silverback Series of counterbalanced fork trucks, this next-generation AMR offers vertical lift of up to 72” to help distribution, warehousing, and manufacturing organizations move a wider range of payloads and pallet types, lift inventory to and from equipment, and seamlessly work alongside other materials handling vehicles and human workers to improve efficiency and throughput.
The autonomous mobile robot (AMR) segment is expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2025, according to Frost & Sullivan. The demand is generated from warehouse operators who need flexible automation systems and solutions that allow them to easily and intelligently move pallets at varying heights, weights, and sizes throughout a facility.
“The autonomous counterbalanced fork truck is the next-generation of pallet handling designed for seamless greater maneuverability versatility and intelligent operational efficiency for organizations. Our new autonomous counterbalanced fork truck allows customers to automate entire workflow processes from end-to-end. This is the future of robot automation and we’re excited to be the trailblazer.”
Vecna Robotics’ Autonomous Counterbalanced Fork Truck is a fully integrated solution that works alongside human operators for improved productivity in dynamic industrial environments. The autonomous counterbalanced fork truck includes dynamic obstacle avoidance to navigate warehouses easily and safely and is compliant with industry regulations such as the ANSI B56.5-2019.
The Autonomous Fork Truck delivers powerful applications that streamline materials handling and logistics operations, including:
The new solution also leverages Vecna Robotics’ orchestration engine Pivotal™, which analyzes an organization’s operations and adjusts processes accordingly, ensuring every facet performs optimally in real-time. Pivotal shares information across people, robots and systems, and integrates with existing warehouse management solutions.
Vecna Robotics’ autonomous counterbalanced fork truck is available now. For more information on the company’s Silverback Series, click here.
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted and affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place. Kay Perkinson, Chief of Staff at Vecna Robotics shared with Karina Michel Feld of Authority Magazine how she tackles the extreme work-life balance of woman in business during Covid-19.
In her interview Kay discusses the many challenges of balancing work and home life and how she manages the added stress of a global pandemic. Throughout the interview Kay reveals some of the powerful advice that has guided her to success and her tips on how to stay positive during uncertain times.
In her role Kay is responsible for organizing and aligning strategic priorities with members of the senior leadership team, designing and facilitating cross-company process and communications, and supporting the CEO on strategic initiatives. Kay has held a variety of non-technical roles across various industries, including solar technology, healthcare, and finance. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Science form Northwestern University, where she played center midfield on the Division I Varsity women’s Soccer team. Kay lives with her husband, Jim, and Engineering Manager at Boeing, and children, Ashton (17), Logan (4), Evan (3) and Benjamin (2), at their family home in Massachusetts.
Read the full interview with Kay Perkinson here:
Vecna Robotics has adapted to working effectively and safely throughout Covid -19. Read more about our efforts below.