14 Statistics about Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) in Order Fulfillment
When it comes to meeting the demands of order fulfillment in today’s modern warehouse, operations managers are tasked with a myriad of challenges. Most notably, they must manage consumer demands while coping with a smaller workforce and a greater need for automation.
In evaluating potential solutions to these problems, you may find yourself hearing more and more about autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Relative newcomers to the world of automation, these robots are similar in some ways to AGVs in that they can automatically complete tasks such as transporting products. Where they shine, though, is their navigation techniques due to their flexibility and ability to understand their dynamic environments. They are able to avoid any unexpected obstacles by self-identifying the most efficient routes for completing their tasks, all without being overseen by an operator.
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If you’re considering incorporating AMRs into your order fulfillment operation, you probably have a lot of questions about their benefits, adoption rates, costs, and potential return on investment (ROI). Below, we’ve gathered 14 statistics about warehouse robotics and autonomous mobile robots that you can use to evaluate the technology for yourself and decide if there is a role for them to play in your business and warehouse operations.
Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) Statistics
1. The worldwide market for commercial service robotics is forecasted to grow 20.3% from 2017–2022 (Source)
The success of service robots and their future in replacing manual operations for warehouses as a whole is projected to rise exponentially.
According to the worldwide commercial service robotics forecast, 2019–2022, the worldwide market for commercial service robotics will grow quite rapidly over the next five years, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in excess of 20% to reach over $53 billion by 2022. The Global Service Robotics Market size is expected to reach $168.6 billion by 2028, rising at a market growth of 23.1% during the forecast period.
2. Over 70% of order fulfillment operations and warehouses that deploy AMRs have noted double-digit improvement in KPIs like cycle time, productivity, and inventory efficiency. (Source)
Companies deploying AMRs and other robotic solutions have seen significant improvements. John Santagate notes the benefits of current companies utilizing commercial and service robots, describing the results as “outstanding.”
The retail and wholesale industries saw the biggest impact, as these industries are known for a high rate of active robotics deployment already. Most notably, half of the report’s respondents said that improved efficiency and productivity was the main reason for deploying and maintaining robotics within their organization.
3. Researchers predict the number of robots in warehouses will grow 15 times by the end of 2022. (Source)
Operations have seen the benefits of assigning a variety of tasks to robots due their accuracy and efficiency. Robotics have also been valued for their ability to perform repetitive tasks while more complicated ones are assigned to the workers. Because of this researchers predict a surge of robotics in various warehouse operations.
The Warehouse Robotics Market was valued at 9.88 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $23.09 billion by 2027 and grow at a CAGR of 15.33% over the forecast period of 2022 to 2027.
4. Warehouse and DC managers are ramping up spending for automation in 2022 (Source)
Given that manual approaches are still widely used with materials handling systems, there is still a lot of room for adoption in this particular field of application. Especially as AMRs continue to get more specialized and become even more able to support various tasks, this number is expected to decline even more substantially in coming years.
5. Automated Replenishment helps staff capacity. (Source)
The adoption of automated replenishment via robotic and AS/RS solutions is similarly increasing. As low value-add tasks, automating the replenishment of product within a facility enables an operation to better utilize the workers that it currently employs, improving efficiency and reducing overall labor costs.
By automating replenishment processes using proven algorithms, labor time spent on manual purchase administration can be significantly reduced by up to 50%. This frees up manpower to zero in on more value-adding activities.
6. The market for industrial robotics is expected to grow to $33.8 Billion in the next 10 years. (Source)
It’s no secret the robotics industry as a whole is growing into a reputable, lucrative market. For instance, the demand for robots has increased with a 6% ries in installations last year globally. Furthermore, the market growth is expected to rise by nearly 12% annually in the next decade as well.
7. The number of robots sold in the U.S. will jump nearly 300 percent in nine years. (Source)
From a geographic perspective, Asia and specifically China has historically been the largest buyers of industrial robot technology. From a vertical standpoint, the automotive and electronics industries have been the largest integrators of industrial robots. Today, the industrial robot market accounts for the highest percentage of all robot spend (61%), and by 2025 we anticipate industrial will remain the largest robotics category.
Adoption of robotic solutions in order fulfillment and distribution is increasing substantially each year. Robot sales increased 28% from Q1 of 2021, when North American companies purchased 9,098 units, to 11,595 units sold in 2022. Sales increased 43% from $466 million in Q1 2021, to $646 million in 2022.
Other industries are increasing robotics spending as well. In fact, global shipments of industrial robots are growing at an average annual rate of 16%. Furthermore, researchers project the global shipments of robots will triple by 2025.
8. Mobile robotics in material handling and logistics will become a $75 billion market by 2027, and is then expected to more than double by 2038. (Source)
As more and more variety is introduced to the functions that AMRs and other robotics can perform, their adoption is only expected to increase even further and faster, and the potential for the order fulfillment industry is enormous. Lower labor costs, improved cycle time, and higher levels of overall efficiency will lead to faster deliveries, reduced expenses, happier customers, and an overall improvement in efficiency which will translate into higher profits.
9. The majority of warehouse and operations managers expect their overall spending on material handling equipment and automation to increase over the next few years. (Source)
52% of warehouse managers expected an increase in investment, while 43% expected to spend roughly the same amount annually. Only 5% anticipated a decrease in investments.
For applications, using or considering robotics for pick and place or parts transfer climbed by 8% to reach 41%, while using or considering robotics for palletizing declined by 8%. Use or consideration of robotics for pick to cart, order fulfillment (picker to part), truck loading, and transportation also were on the upswing.
10. Warehouses, distribution centers, and order fulfillment operations employ an estimated 53.7% more workers than they did just 5 years ago. (Source)
In 2016, an estimated 915,000 workers were employed in the sector. As of April 2021, that number hit just over 1,400,000. This increase has been driven by a number of trends, including the continued growth of ecommerce in the United States.
The staggering increase underlines the growth in the sector, both in the long term and due to recent trends generated by the pandemic in terms of e-commerce and home delivery fulfillment.
11. The average order picker can pick between 60 to 80 picks per hour, compared to a pick rate of up to 300 picks per hour when leveraging sorters and conveyors. (Source)
By reducing travel time, conveyors and sorters can dramatically increase the overall productivity of an order fulfillment operation. In general, most companies observe around a 25% gain in overall productivity, a 10-20% improvement in space utilization, and a 15-30% reduction in safety stock when moving from a paper-based system to this level of automation.
12. AS/RS, order picking and fulfillment systems and systems top the list of investment considerations. (Source)
“When asked which type of systems and equipment respondents are considering during the next 12 months, growth categories included AS/RS (up to 14% from 7% last year), order picking and fulfillment systems (up to 17% from 13%), as well as mezzanines (up by 4% this year versus last), and conveyor/sortation (up by 3%),” Logistics Management reports.
13. Autonomous Mobile Robots Push Robot Boundaries And Drive Data Strategy. (Source)
Today’s AMRs are creating a digital understanding of end-to-end movement. The top reasons for deploying robots in organizations are to improve: Productivity, efficiency, service quality and operational capacity. AMRs are building aggregate data across the entire organization to create a common data architecture that understands the movement pattern of materials, how to improve, and how to reconfigure and simulate optimizations.
14. Flexible to Scale Up and Down (Source)
The number of robots as well as hours of work per day can be easily adjusted to meet changes in demand even if there is an unexpected peak or off-peak season. Businesses can now avoid the difficulties associated with finding labor under various peak scenarios and the time associated with hiring and then training new staff. Through real-time monitoring and inventory control, the scheduling of AMRs can be dynamically adjusted following incoming demands.
Advantages of AMRs For Your Warehouse
As you can see, these statistics show how robotics in order fulfillment is shaping the landscape of the warehousing industry. While this transition may not be occurring overnight, the data shows that change is taking place and will only accelerate in the future.
If your warehouse is experiencing difficulties with order fulfillment from labor shortages, increased customer demands, or reduced efficiency, or another challenge, AMRs and other forms of automation can help. A trusted systems integrator can help evaluate your options, including the need to incorporate more robotics in order fulfillment and find the RightFIT solution to your challenges.