Mobile Robots and Intralogistics the Always-On Supply Chain

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By Tanya M. Anandan, Contributing Editor, Robotics Industries Association

When the time between Click to Buy and the doorstep, or dock, is measured in hours. And customers always want it faster and cheaper. There’s no time to spare. If you don’t deliver, your competitors will.

The supply chain never sleeps. Neither do robots.

Mobile robots speed material flow to fulfillment workstations and between manufacturing processes. They cut picking errors and boost throughput. They help consolidate storage space and future-proof operations. Robots offset rising labor costs and shortages. They improve ergonomics and make better use of your skilled workforce. Robotic mobility leads to traceability and predictability, your road to Industry 4.0. Your road to the always-on supply chain.

The 2016 MHI Annual Industry Report charts the emergence of the “digital, always-on supply chain.” Nearly 900 industry executives were surveyed. The study found that 51% of respondents consider robotics and automation a competitive advantage or disruptive technology. At the same time, 58% see hiring and retaining a skilled workforce to implement these technologies as a major hurdle. Suppliers need reliable, cost-effective, plug-and-play solutions. A host of new robotics startups and established players are delivering the goods.

Smart Robots, Smart Factory

Closing that loop and automating the flow of materials both to and from manufacturing processes and in and out of distribution and fulfillment workstations is gaining ground thanks to a slew of mobile robots by established suppliers and new startups.

Vecna Inc. offers a variety of autonomous mobile robots in various payloads and configurations for both healthcare and the warehouse. All are designed to operate safely among their human coworkers and without the need for facility modifications. Watch them move.