Will robots take over the world? Probably not, but they may take over your warehouse.
AMRs, or autonomous mobile robots, have many benefits to both your company’s bottom line and the labor challenges within your warehouse.
Given the current state of supply and demand, it is becoming increasingly clear that AMRs are the way to productively and efficiently operate your warehouse.
AMRs have come a long way in the past decade. Previous iterations of autonomous warehouse robots have been clunky, ineffectual and downright unusable in some situations.
Often referred to as automated guided vehicles, or AGVs, these robots would often only work by following a set path of magnetic strips laid down on a warehouse floor, making these AGVs extremely difficult to implement.
AGVs often required new, custom software programming and hours of physical work to get set up. It could often take months of upgrades to a company’s infrastructure to meet the requirement of this previous generation of warehouse automation.
And even once the AGV was up and running, companies would also run into roadblocks related to maintenance and updates. Each time this would happen, productivity would halt, and the down time could cause financial ramifications.
Thankfully, the new generation of AMRs have been designed with flexibility and agility in mind. No longer are lengthy infrastructure projects required to get up and running with AMRs. These robots are typically designed to talk directly to your WMS, allowing for efficiency gains without the implementation pains.
There are several benefits to the utilization of a warehouse automation system like AMRs.
Implementing an AMR is much simpler than an AGV. With AMRs, typically all you need is a map of your current facility. This eliminates the need for laying track or creating dedicated paths.
Integrating an AMR system within your facility requires fewer restrictions (i.e. ensuring it’s in a place without workers, forklifts, etc.) due to their inherent ability to track possible obstacles.
AMRs today ensure that your warehouse automation is flexible, with the ability to change their route at a moment's notice. They are also able to automatically choose the best route to complete a task based on current obstacles or other robots.
Furthermore, you can move inventory in your warehouse, and the robot will respond accordingly, calculating the best and most efficient way to access what they need. In truth, nothing needs to be set in stone. Your warehouse can be as ever-changing as time, and the robot will still keep up.
It's no secret that there are risks in warehouses. The need to ensure all workers are safe and not in harm’s way is key to your company’s success. AMRs can improve associate safety in a few different ways.
First and foremost, it keeps your workers from going out into the warehouse. With an automated goods-to-person, or GTP, model that most AMRs use, your workers stay in one area and the robots do the venturing out in the sea of racking.
Additionally, with AMRs in use, the risk of on-the-job accidents decreases drastically. No longer are employees lifting packages in non-ergonomic positions. Instead, the product is brought to your associates in a safe and comfortable manner.
AMRs in warehouses have become extremely accessible to set up and implement. Tech has become far more user-friendly in recent years.
In fact, some systems are so easy to implement, you no longer need to hire specialists to come in and oversee the installation of AMRs in your warehouse automation systems. This saves you time and money, and puts you more in control of your systems.
Have you taken on AMRs within your warehouse, and now your company has grown, requiring larger space? No problem! An AMR’s job is to fit the location it is put in.
Simply provide a new programmable map and transport with care! The AMR can navigate new spaces flawlessly without the days of programming, and external setup AGVs needed.
So what happens if you stay in the warehouse you are working in, but your productivity scales up, requiring new products and more efficiency? No problem at all. AMRs can be set up to maximize productivity, and to scale up and down with your demand (unlike other warehouse automation systems).
You can also start with one and continue to add complimentary AMRs as your business needs change. They will work with each other and don’t require new programming when a new robot is added.
A major downfall to human nature is our inability to be completely error-free. It’s true, employees will most often have some form of human error while working in your warehouse.
Utilizing AMRs mitigates this risk and ensures your product gets to where it is going in an efficient and timely manner. Robots can be injected into your most risky or error-prone processes, minimizing the capacity for human error and maximizing the capacity for productivity.
For all the reasons listed above, is it perhaps time you start looking at boosting your productivity, cost-effectiveness, and safety with an AMR warehouse automation system?
And if the robots of your dreams don’t quite fit your company’s unique process, fear not! PorterLogic can be integrated with all major AMR systems and allow that extra layer of flexibility in your software. Book a call or demo today for more information!