April 28, 2021
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 flexible 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 automation 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.