It’s been proven time and time again that robots accelerate the manufacturing and delivery process. Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap 2.0 found logistic robots reduced Gap’s concept-to-store time by two months and brought Zara’s down to 25 days.
These benefits trickle down to the customer through faster delivery and lower prices. Autonomous solutions help organizations remain agile and competitive in a world of rapidly changing expectations and shrinking labor pools.
Agility is important to the bottom line, but so is material handling safety. OSHA estimates 97,000 serious forklift-related injuries a year costing on average $129,336 per person per non-fatal incident.
Accidents involving material handling equipment are significantly reduced or even eliminated entirely when that equipment is automated. Automation also reduces accidents by freeing people from dangerous activities that often lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). MSD is caused by repetitive motions, insufficient recovery time between movements, and constrained body positions, all common aspects of material handling roles.
SHARP Research Group reported MSD accounted for 21 percent of all state-funded disability claims between 2009-2013, 55 percent of which derived from lifting. If robots take over the dangerous portions of material handling, they will help prevent MSD among employees and save the industry up to $12.5 billion a year.
Another often overlooked benefit of automated equipment is that it lasts substantially longer than manually-operated equipment. The computers that control the equipment consistently observe acceleration and speed limits, avoiding unnecessary heavy breaking, and are less likely to come into inappropriate contact with infrastructure and product, saving costs in maintenance and repair as well as product breakage or damage claims.
The flexibility, safety and cost of ownership make investing in autonomous solutions a necessary step for warehouses and distribution centers tasked with keeping up with 21st-century demand.