The Unexpected (Soft) Benefits of Mobile Automation
There are a myriad of valid reasons why organizations consider mobile automation, like automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for their operations. Most of these benefits are fairly obvious and easy to use as justification for the expenditure. But there are plenty of softer, under-the-radar benefits from mobile automation that you should know about, as well.
First, there are “hard,” or more recognized benefits of mobile automation ownership:
- Increased throughput—Mobile automation can work 24/7, requiring no breaks, automatically increasing your ability to move product through your facility.
- Improved accuracy—By taking some of the human equation out of the picture, AGVs/AMRs minimize errors, especially in the inventory process.
- Improved inventory accuracy and traceability—You’ll know where your products are at any given moment, increasing productivity. As AGVs/AMRs interact with their environment, they share their position in real time. This allows for easy tracing and reduces the need for human interaction.
These are the obvious benefits of adding mobile automation to your workplace; however, don’t overlook the lesser known benefits:
- Increased workplace safety—Many workplace accidents occur due to human error. When mobile automation take the place of human labor, they remove that potential from the equation.
- Improved worker retention and recruitment—When AGVs/AMRs are in the picture, they can take on many of the more menial tasks, freeing up employees for more challenging work. They enjoy their jobs more and that translates into greater job satisfaction. This can also serve as a powerful recruiting tool because the opportunity to take on satisfying roles in your workplace versus another lacking that ability is a competitive advantage. You may even save money on recruiting efforts as a result.
- Improved worker safety—when you compare AGVs/AMRs to forklifts, you’re far ahead of the game. According to OSHA, there are more than 800,000 forklifts in the United States, and 11 percent of those will be involved in an accident annually. Nearly 35,000 of those accidents are serious, and 85 of them are fatal.
- Mobile automation integrates easily with Industry 4.0—they allow you to integrate with the Internet of Things (IoT), generating new data, driving efficiency, and improved customer service. This adds value to your bottom line as you access improved visibility.
- Longer equipment lifespans—AGVs/AMRs are built to last and use a consistent acceleration and deceleration curve. This leads to less wear and tear on your brakes, your tires, and wheels. They are also driving in patterns that avoid collisions with other equipment in your facility, adding up to little- to- no damage. Put together, these benefits substantially lower your maintenance costs.
Making a business case for adding mobile automation to your facility is an easy task, especially when you consider all of the benefits, both hard and soft.
To find out more about MHI’s MAG Industry Group: https://www.mhi.org/mag
To learn more about how mobile automation can benefit you: