Driving agility & flexibility in material handling workflows

2 minutes to read
By Daniel Theobald, CIO and Co-founder of Vecna Robotics

 

Increased customer expectations are affecting every part of the supply chain. Driving agility is now at the forefront of many companies as people are spending an unprecedented amount of money, and want more options and quicker service.

This is expanding the range of inventory, increasing inventory turnover rates from days to hours, and changing expectations from free two-day to free within the hour delivery. 

The only way to meet these expectations is for the manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and logistics partners to create flexible and agile workflows.

A mixed fleet of intelligent self-driving vehicles is one way to increase dexterity and elasticity while at the same time driving agility. They can complete physically demanding jobs, work uninterrupted for multiple shifts, and smarter robots have the freedom to adapt to changes without human assistance. However, they are only one part of the solution.

A mixed fleet of intelligent self-driving vehicles is one way to increase dexterity and elasticity. They can complete physically demanding jobs, work uninterrupted for multiple shifts, and smarter robots have the freedom to adapt to changes without human assistance. However, they are only one part of the solution.

Ultimate flexibility and agility come from the ability to change the operational process based on current circumstances, without increasing costs or sacrificing quality, safety, or rate of delivery.

This can be achieved by avoiding rigid methods, delivery routes, resources (robot, human, legacy operation), or allocation of resources for warehouse activities. Operations managers should look at all available resources, routes, and methods and pick the most efficient combination to optimally perform the given task.

This allows operations to seamlessly adapt to surges in demand, unexpected changes, rapid delivery requirements, and the vast stock keeping unit (SKU) proliferation brought on by the rising consumer expectations.

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