You know your operation could run more efficiently. You know autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are the future. But how do you take the next step and successfully automate your operation?

It all comes down to knowing the challenges you need you to solve, the benefits AMRs can bring, and what you should expect from them. And it can be difficult to know where and how to start integrating AMRs into your operation.

The key to a successful transition to AMRs starts with identifying aspects of your operation that can benefit the most from automation and focusing on incremental changes that set you up for future growth.

To successfully move forward with AMRs, you need to know the five keys to AMR success:

  1. Costs, savings, and return on investment
  2. Right tool for the job
  3. Infrastructure matters
  4. Integrating software for long-term success
  5. Growth, flexibility, and adaptability

With this knowledge you can understand how AMRs, when deployed in the right way, can transform your operation – delivering cost savings, improving safety, allowing you to better utilize employees, and ultimately increasing efficiency.

Watch The Five Things You Must Know Before Bringing AMRs Into Your Operation webinar to learn from our experts about how to bring AMRs into your organization.

1. Know Your Numbers

The number one reason to introduce AMRs into your organization is to improve efficiency. With AMRs you are able to grow your revenue with fewer resources.

For example, your warehouse currently operates two shifts a day with a fleet of forklifts that requires a driver per vehicle. With an autonomous solution, an entire fleet of AMRs could run autonomously with only a single person overseeing the entire operation. This makes improving efficiencies and growing revenue a reality.

The best way to understand how AMRs can improve operational efficiencies is with a return on investment (ROI) calculation. This ROI calculation details your fully burdened labor costs, where you’re spending money, and lets you understand how AMRs can deliver cost reductions and improve your operational efficiency.

View the webinar to see a complete ROI calculation

In our webinar, The Five Things You Must Know Before Bringing AMRs Into Your Operation, we provide a detailed ROI model to help you quantify the savings offered by AMRs for your operation.

When you understand the ROI of bringing AMRs into your operations, you can realize these four key savings opportunities:

  1. Increased throughput efficiency: eliminating delays in replenishing raw materials, preventing costly bottlenecks, and increasing operational efficiency are just a few examples of the productivity benefits of AMRs.
  2. Reduced operating costs: with AMRs working for you, you can allocate labor to value-added tasks and further improve efficiencies.
  3. Reduced liability costs: manually-driven machinery is a huge safety liability. AMRs mean fewer vehicles, predictable paths and robust safety features that ultimately result in fewer accidents.
  4. Improved product quality: AMRs eliminate the human errors that cause damaged goods, unnecessary waste, and misplaced inventory.

2. Right Tool for the Job

When you know what to look for in an AMR system, you know you’re choosing the right tool for the job from the beginning. Forklifts, tuggers, autonomous storage and retrieval systems, and other specialty robots each have a distinct role to play in your operation – make sure you’re deploying the right tool for the job.

If you’re new to AMRs and aren’t sure how to get started, consider these four steps to guide you in your initial deployment:

  1. Keep it simple. Identify small inefficiencies in your system and choose an AMR system that lets you solve them quickly.
  2. Start with a pilot. A pilot allows you to learn what does and doesn’t work for your operation and makes it easier to prove the value of AMRs to colleagues.
  3. Easy wins first. Look for efficiencies that can be solved with minimal AMR investment and integration.
  4. Strategically expand and grow. Choose an AMR system with the flexibility to grow and adapt to your evolving business needs and challenges.

3. It All Comes Down to Infrastructure

Implementing an AMR system should not be complicated. If it is complicated, you need to step back and make sure you’re choosing the right AMR solution.

When you know why you need AMRs and the challenges they will solve, you can put your energy into evaluating AMR solutions based on the requirements they place on your infrastructure. A truly autonomous solution shouldn’t require a lot of changes to your existing facility. An AMR solution should only need:

  • Natural features for navigation, such as existing walls, doorways, and columns
  • Battery charging location, which can even be implemented as opportunity charging that allows robots to be charged while being loaded or queuing for work.
  • IT computing and network resources so the system can manage day-to-day operations for you. SurePath, our fleet control software, integrates seamlessly with your IT infrastructure.
  • Small maintenance area to complete preventive and general maintenance tasks.

During the AMR assessment and discovery process, make sure you know exactly what your AMR manufacturer needs from your infrastructure. Look for an AMR solution that has the capabilities to integrate with your existing infrastructure.

4. Software Integration for Long-term AMR Success

The right software can make or break your AMR experience. As important as the autonomous robots you choose is the software used to manage and control them.

As part of your research, ask questions about the fleet control software and how it integrates into your existing systems. Remember, your robots are only as smart as the software powering them.

Ask these questions about the fleet control software and integration:

  • What does the software do? Is it capable of managing all AMR traffic, coordinating activities, and managing orders?
  • How does the software prevent collisions, accidents, injury, and damage to goods?
  • Does the fleet control software really help me save money and cut costs? Is it possible to use this software for inventory management and optimal traffic routing?
  • I’m already using a warehouse management system (WMS)/manufacturing execution system (MES). How do I integrate your software with my existing tools and infrastructure?
  • What type of device does the software run on? How and where is our data stored?
  • What kind of data can I pull from the software? Is there a way to create custom reports?
  • Do you offer training and support for your fleet control software?
  • When my infrastructure changes, how hard is it to adjust the robot’s paths? Is this something I can do on my own or do I have to call you to do it for me?

Watch our webinar The Five Things You Must Know Before Bringing AMRs Into Your Operation to learn from Dave Levasseur, Head of Software, about how SurePath, our fleet control software, integrates with your existing system.

5. Grow, Adapt and Stay Flexible Always

Your operational needs and goals today will not be the same six months or five years from now. And this demands an AMR system designed to grow, flex and adapt with you. Your AMR solution must be capable of giving you what you need when you need it.

For us flexibility means designing a system that meets your needs today and enables you to expand the use of AMRs in your future operations. With a modular platform that supports a range of different adapters there are no limits on what AMRs can do for you.

For example, your needs may change based on the season or holiday period. Know that you can easily change adapters to meet operational demands, for example converting tuggers to pallet stackers as needed.

You need an AMR system that is: modular, flexible, scalable, adjustable, accurate, reliable, safe and deploys easily when, where, and how you need it. You get this when you choose an AMR system that is designed from the ground up to meet your needs, goals, and challenges.

Be Future-ready with the Right AMR Solution

Do not get left behind. AMRs are not just the future of assembly, manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution – they are making huge impacts now.

Contact us to learn how AMRs can help you. From productivity improvements, cost-savings, a safer workplace through to more efficient operations – AMRs can make a difference.