Autonomous Mobile Robots Drive Operations Productivity
In these days of labor shortages and rising expenses, companies are seeking technologies which can address these problems as well as the challenge of rising operating volumes. The Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR), or warehouse robot, is the perfect technology to address supply chain pain points – it augments your human staff, enabling them to focus on higher-value activities, and reducing the amount of manned travel in your facility.
So what is an Autonomous Mobile Robot? Autonomous Mobile Robots are freely operating devices which can be quickly trained to perform a broad variety of material movement tasks. The AMR uses a sophisticated mix of sensors and cameras to ‘see’, and powerful obstacle detection artificial intelligence enables it to safely operate independent of human guidance. The AMR’s action can be triggered by user input (a barcode, button press, or RFID signal), and will proceed to perform the task as directed. Examples of tasks for warehouse robotics might include pallet movement, warehouse case or rack movement, support for human workers in picking and order fulfillment, ‘virtual conveyor belt’ functionality, or removal of trash/recycling.
An Autonomous Robot navigates its way through your facility using a mix of sensors and cameras. This is different than the older AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle), which travels along pre-defined routes typically demarked by wires, magnetic strips, or sensors. AGVs can be effective, but they are less ‘smart’. AGVs take more effort to setup because of the infrastructure requirements, which also means that they are less flexible and versatile – changing functions or routes can mean remarking the facility to accommodate.
Autonomous Mobile Robots, on the other hand, do not require wires or magnetic strips to be installed in the facility. Truly autonomous, the AMR provides flexible automation of critical supply chain workflows. If its preferred path is blocked by obstacles, the AMR can find a new path. Also, AMRs can quickly be assigned new tasks and routes without modifications to the physical infrastructure of the plant. AMRs will also meet safety requirements – they are able to safely work alongside people, maintaining a situational awareness which enables the robots to avoid hazards.
When To Consider Autonomous Mobile Robots
The Autonomous Mobile Robot market is growing very fast as companies seek gains through warehouse automation. AMR deployments aren’t the solution in every case, but they can be extremely impactful in situations where:
- Labor shortages and rising costs for material handling are concerning to you
- You have frequently repeated movements of items or materials
- The beginning and ending locations for the material movement is well defined
- Your people lose meaningful amounts of time by transporting items around your facility
- You are burdened with a stationery and inflexible conveyor system, and would prefer flexibility
Consult With CSSI On Autonomous Mobile Robots
The Pennsylvania-based team at CSSI is available to discuss your challenges and potential use cases for industrial mobile robots. Please contact us to discuss an AMR solution today.
Empower High Productivity With CSSI’s Wearable Technology Solutions
The modern warehouse must brave through a myriad of challenging demands. From shorter delivery timeframes to real-time order tracking, meet every demand with a modernization solution that adapts to the individual worker for maximized productivity and ergonomics. Wearable technology solutions provide an instant productivity boost for your team… faster scanning, improved ergonomics, less fatigue.
What Is Wearable Technology?
There are a number of wearable tech devices. These would include:
- Hand- or finger-mounted barcode scanners and mobile computers (as an example, the Zebra WS50 Android Wearable Device)
- Smart glasses (many people are familiar with wearables such as the Google Glass head mounted display)
- VR Headsets – virtual reality and augmented reality may play a growing role in professional environments
- Wearable electronics (examples might include the Fitbit smart watch, the Apple watch, or activity tracker devices)
- Wearable sensors and smart clothing used for personal safety or individual metrics, for example, in hazardous environments where intrinsically safe technology is required.
- Portable label printers
CSSI is focused primarily on wearable technologies which support activities in warehouse, distribution, and manufacturing environments.
Benefits of Wearable Computers
There are many advantages to well-implemented modern wearable technology solutions:
- Faster order fulfillment / higher worker productivity
- Improved order accuracy due to the scanner’s visual reinforcement
- Workers benefit from the improved ergonomics of wearable devices
- Team communication improves with push-to-talk capabilities
Zebra’s new WS50 wearable computer integrates a scanner and color screen.
CSSI can guide you in the selection, configuration, deployment, and support of wearable computers and ring scanners.
Learn More About Wearable Technology Options
Contact CSSI to learn more about the possibilities which wearable tech can unlock for your organization.
Warehouse Operations Leaders Provide Insights on Trends & Future Plans
Zebra Technologies is back with a timely update to its 2019 Warehouse Vision Study! The new Warehouse Vision Study is the result of survey of warehousing execs and decision makers worldwide, who were asked about their investment plans and expectations between 2022 and 2027. We are happy to present the Vision Study as a free download (see below).
Warehouse Vision Study Key Takeaways
- Challenges in the marketplace have created a catalyst for positive change: Covid, supply chain shortages, difficult in attracting staff. These have all created major headaches for business. However, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, and thus these crises have pushed warehouses to adapt and improve… adopting technology, creating more flexible work environments, and rethinking supply chains for more future robustness.
- Clarity on the most significant warehouse challenges: Shipping volumes are up (>20%), rising e-commerce activity creates unpredictable customer demand and faster delivery expectations, and returns management and fulfillment are challenging execs.
- Presentation of the 5-year warehouse operations outlook: Eliminating unnecessary tasks is a priority, and there is an intention to improve labor optimization with mobile technology and automation solutions such as robotics. There is a strong trend towards facility automation (over 30% intend to be fully or partially automated in 5 years).
Some of the Warehouse Vision Study Revelations
- What are decision-makers’ top 3 challenges due to increased e-commerce?
- How are labor constraints impacting warehouses?
- What are the common outbound fulfillment challenges?
- Where are your warehouse peers planning to invest next?
- What are the expectations around automation & robotics?
Complete the form below to immediately receive your free copy of Zebra’s Warehouse Vision Study, a survey of warehouse trends for 2022-2027
Get Your Free 2027 Warehouse Vision Study Download
As mobile computing devices proliferate throughout your operations, tremendous benefits accrue: improved productivity, inventory accuracy, and employee satisfaction. However, the introduction of technology also allows for the introduction of risks and threats due to:
- poor cybersecurity training
- missed manual updates
- inadequate data sharing
Cost of Average Cyberattack: $133,000
CSSI can help to keep you secure with the leading edge security of Zebra devices, protected by Zebra’s Lifeguard, mobility extensions, and regular patches.
Further, CSSI can take the burden of mobile device maintenance off your team with our Device Lifecycle Management service – we manage your device fleet, from configuration to deployment to patches and troubleshooting. To learn more, please complete contact us.
View or download the 2027 Warehouse Vision Study below:cssi_warehouse-vision-study-2027
At CSSI Technologies, we sell cutting-edge technologies to improve productivity and profitability in warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing, and trucking/logistics firms. We specialize in rugged handheld computers, AIDC (barcode scanners & RFID), label printers, and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). We add extra value through our custom software development team, which enables us to create highly effective, custom-fit solutions.
CSSI is seeking a SALES DEVELOPMENT REPRESENTATIVE (SDR) eager to build a career in the growing field of industrial technology sales. While learning about the industry, the SDR will seek and qualify leads. As experience grows, the SDR will handle sales and customer relationships of increasing size and complexity. This position is a great match for a person with familiarity in warehousing/manufacturing environments, people skills, IT aptitude, and a consultative mindset.
- Meet or exceed targets for sales results and business opportunity generation.
- Prospect for new customers and qualify leads, primarily through phone, web, and email communication.
- As your knowledge expands, you will handle sales opportunities of growing size
- Acquire expertise in the benefits and advantages of technologies represented by CSSI.
- Collaborate with the CSSI team of system engineers and software developers to win business and achieve great customer outcomes.
- Interest in industrial technology sales (prior experience a plus)
- Familiarity with manufacturing and warehousing environments preferred
- IT and technical aptitude
- Self-motivation and drive for success
- Able to travel to customer sites
- Excellent skills in consultative solutions sales, prospecting, communicating, presenting, and follow-up
- Prior knowledge of Zebra and Honeywell mobile computing portfolios is a plus
- Competitive salary
- Performance-based bonus
- Comprehensive health insurance
- 401k retirement plan with company matching options.
- Hybrid work environment – the role is performed in our Lewisburg, PA office, at customer sites, and in your home office when appropriate.
To apply, please email your resume and cover letter to email@example.com and include Sales Development Representative in the subject line.
Zebra Fetch AMRs Now Available Through CSSI
June 15, 2022, Lewisburg, PA — Pennsylvania-based CSSI Technologies introduces Zebra’s line of Fetch autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to its product offering. As companies face labor shortages and rising expenses, even in the face of growing business demands, the maturation of autonomous mobile robots comes at the perfect time for industry. Warehouse robots reduce a company’s reliance on manned forklifts and pallet jacks, and allow the firm to direct those resources to higher value activities. Productivity can surge as valuable human resources spend less time escorting materials around the facility and more time adding value to those materials. AMRs augment and empower human staff, allowing a company’s people to get more done with less effort.
Zebra Technologies Purchase of Fetch Robotics
In August of 2021, Zebra Technologies completed its acquisition of Fetch Robotics, which was notable because Fetch has been a pioneer in mobile robotics and on-demand automation, and has developed a robust line of effective and easy-to-implement mobile robots powered by AI. As the industry leader in supply chain technology, Zebra’s purchase of Fetch enables it to add leading-edge material handling capabilities to its product line. CSSI is a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, and ready to work with you on implementing autonomous mobile robots in your warehouse and manufacturing facilities.
Key Benefits of AMRs
Autonomous mobile robots can be transformative for your distribution center or manufacturing facility productivity. The benefits of mobile robot technology are far-reaching and include:
- Reduce reliance on manned forklifts and pallet jacks
- Significantly reduce the amount of time employees spend in transit
- Support 2- and 3-shift operations
- Reliable and dependable – autonomous mobile robots don’t get sick or take time off, offering 24/7 mobility
- Improve safety – Zebra’s Fetch AMRs are designed with safe operation in mind with cameras and sensors, and reduce opportunities for accidents which results from human-driven forklifts
- Zebra’s Fetch AMRs can be easily trained for a task, and can be retrained for a new task when your business needs change. (This is a major different of AMRs versus the less flexible AGV, automated guided vehicle).
Attractive Workflows to Handle With Autonomous Mobile Robots
As you think about implementing warehouse robots, think from the perspective of specific workflows. What is the definable, repeatable task which can be assigned to your AMR in order to improve overall productivity? You are likely to find the highest ROI by identifying the most well-defined and frequently executed tasks. Businesses differ, but some likely examples might include:
- Support for picking operations with movement of eaches, totes, or cases
- Transport of pallets within facility
- Transport of rolling carts – supporting case picking, replenishment, and raw material delivery
- Creation of a virtual conveyor system, moving items from one line to the next
- Removal of waste material and recycling
- Automated RFID scanning of facility for cycle counting and asset tracking
How To Get Started With Autonomous Mobile Robots
To get started with AMRs, contact CSSI Technologies to discuss your needs. Our warehouse and mobile robot experts will work with you to determine the most attractive way to implement mobile robots in your facility.
Businesses which have been tempted to deploy consumer-grade tablets, and disappointed or frustrated by the results, will be thrilled by the new line of ET40 & ET45 tablets from Zebra Technologies Corporation. The ET40/45 family fills a gap between not-good-enough consumer tablets and more robust tablets such as Zebra’s ET80/ET85 line.
The Zebra ET40 tablet (wi-fi only) and ET45 tablet (wi-fi or cellular) are ready for demanding environments, with rugged features unavailable in consumer products, such as swappable batteries. Powerful Zebra barcode scanner technology and unified communications capabilities create dramatic productivity benefits for your team. Importantly, when you are adopting for a mobile computing rollout, you will appreciate Zebra’s 3-year hardware lifecycle and 6 years of service and support – a product runway dramatically longer than that attained with consumer-grade products.
Why Consumer Grade Tablets Fail In The Workplace
Businesses which don’t require completely rugged tablet solutions for mobile workers, may be tempted by initially less expensive consumer-grade products, but the complete cost of ownership should be considered, as the costs ultimately outweigh the upfront benefits:
- Continual device failure after drops, bumps, and mishaps
- Need for expensive rugged cases and scanning sleds undermines the perceived ‘cost-savings’
- Short consumer lifecycles inevitably results in a workplace cluttered with many different device models, increasing the difficulty of management and training
- Service and support is limited
- Batteries are not replaceable – when battery dies, you must discard the device
- Lack of enterprise features and connectivity options slows down and frustrates your workers
The ET4X Series of Zebra Tablets is Feature-Packed
Instead, choosing the enterprise grade ET4X series provides your team with a professional grade product with features which will save employees time and aggravation, and enterprise software tools which your IT staff will appreciate.
- Tough design, yet thin and light styling. Corning Gorilla Glass protects your screen.
- Large 8″ or 10″ screen superior to smaller mobile computer screen sizes
- Fast wireless – 5G and Wi-Fi 6
- Battery power for multiple shifts
- Zebra’s industry-best barcode scanner performance and barcode software
- Complete family of accessories is available
- Multi-year lifecycle
- Voice solutions such as Workforce Connect are available to improve team communication
- Zebra’s mobility DNA packs in value-add features which contribute to device management and ease of use
Applications for the ET40/ET45 Rugged Tablet
There are many use cases for the Zebra ET40 / ET45 Tablet family:
- Transportation and Logistics – use for routing or dispatch, proof of delivery, invoicing, inventory management, staff communication.
- Field Service and Utilities – routing/dispatch, inventory management, personnel tracking, mobile work order management, safety inspection, meter reading.
- Warehousing – inventory management, picking, put-away, receiving, staff communications.
- Manufacturing – plant management, mobile HMI, maintenance repair, quality assurance, communications.
- Retail and Hospitality – great for assisted selling, price checks, line busting, point of sale, inventory management.
Learn More About the Zebra ET40/ET45
To learn more about the ET40 & ET45 tablet, please contact CSSI Technologies. Our team of Zebra product experts can review your needs and help you select the optimal product for your business.cssi_et40-et45-spec-sheet
Your warehouse faces multiple pressures to meet customer expectations. Surpass them all with an all-in-one mobility solution – designed with Zebra Technologies.
Same-day shipping. Real-time order tracking. 100% order accuracy. Flexible return policies.
Your warehouse teams must navigate through a myriad of challenges while battling high turnover rates and shortages at the same time. Empower them to conquer challenges with streamlined efficiency delivered through…
Learn More From CSSI
Contact CSSI to learn more about how you can consolidate the mobile devices in use in your facilities — adopting instead a multi-functional enterprise Android rugged handheld from Zebra Technologies.