What are the Best ROI Workflows to Address with AMRs?
It seems like every forward-thinking company is looking for potential ways to utilize autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for manufacturing, internal logistics, and supply chain. Warehouse automation is an attainable way to dramatically improve your efficiency. But how do you decide on your first applications for autonomous mobile robots?
There are several material handling workflows which have been found to produce excellent payback when addressed with AMRs. Keep in mind that your benefits may come from several areas:
- AMRs reduce human travel time, allowing you to reduce or repurpose your current employees to higher-value work
- AMRs provide greater dependability – AMRs don’t call out sick and follow established processes
- AMRs improve safety – eliminating potential expensive forklift or lifting accidents
Where To Start Warehouse Automation With AMRs?
If you are searching for your first use of AMRs, we recommend finding an autonomous robot application which is both a) acceptable ROI, and b) easy to implement. Note that the highest-returning workflow may not be the best candidate for your first mobile robotics project if it is complex. You would benefit by having a successful learning implementation under your belt prior to tackling a more complicated, high-integration project. You’ll be able to confidently build on that success in more complex future projects.
Did you know? There are significant differences between an autonomous mobile robot and an automated guided vehicle (AMR vs AGV). Refer to our explainer to learn how artificial intelligence makes the AMR the more choice.
The most-attractive use case for AMRs will differ between businesses. Ultimately the ROI will be determined by the benefit derived from each AMR action multiplied by the frequency with which that action occurs. The common application candidates for AMRs are listed below. Think about where these robotic applications may apply to your business, and connect with CSSI to review further.
Manufacturing Applications for AMRs
- Removal of waste material / recycling – No need to tie up human workers shuttling bins of waste and recycling from the production line to the dumpster. AMRs can easily be programmed to automate these actions.
- Line-side delivery – Are your production lines reliably supplied? Downtime is expensive. AMRs can perform material transport and drop-off raw materials and supplies as needed right at the workcell.
- Bus routes – Do you rely on material handlers to continuously shuttle between work cells or departments on a dedicated route? This can be an ideal task for an AMR robot.
- Pull-calls – Utilizing kanban type systems which require goods to be delivered from storage when triggered? Mobile industrial robots can step in to perform this task.
- Work in process – Contemplating a conveyor belt to move work-in-process (WIP) goods between work cells, but unsure about the cost and highly fixed nature of that solution? AMRs can act as a ‘virtual’ conveyor of items between cells, without the space-consuming aspects of belts. And… with incredible flexibility for reprogramming as your needs change!
Warehousing Applications for AMRs
- Pallet moves (inbound or outbound) – If pallets are transported long distances from the dock or production areas to the warehouse, there is a potential to diminish the fork truck travel. AMRs can transport the pallets over the long distance, with fork trucks able to handle the task of put away in your storage racks.
- Directed picking – As your human pickers pick-to-tote in the distribution center, they likely spend inordinate amounts of time in transit during this order fulfillment operations. This can be dramatically enhanced by warehouse automation, by allowing the workers to position totes on carts or racks, which are then moved further along by AMRs… freeing up the worker to continue picking.
- Putaway – As make-to-stock items are produced in manufacturing, they may be moved to the warehouse by fork truck or pallet jack. This is yet another instance where AMRs can handle the distance travel, freeing up workers for other more valuable tasks.
Connect with CSSI to Further Explore AMRs
Interested in applications for autonomous mobile robots in your business? Is there a different workflow which you would like to address with autonomous mobile robot? Connect with CSSI to discuss industrial automation and warehouse automation! We can work with you to review your potential mobile robotics use cases and identify great ROI candidates.