Evaluating AMR Performance: How to Decide if AMRs are Right for Your Operation
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have demonstrated their value for order fulfillment and warehouse applications over the past few years, as the technology has grown and become a standard means of best practices and automation.
As of 2018, approximately 90 percent of supply chain organizations have indicated interest and plans to eventually incorporate AMRs and other robotic technologies into their workflows. All told, this increased interest and demand is expected to grow the number of robots used in warehouses by 1,500% between 2016 and 2021.
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The reason is clear: AMRs simply work. An expected 70 percent of order fulfillment operations that have deployed AMRs have noted double-digit improvement in critical KPIs like cycle time, productivity, and inventory efficiency.
While the vast majority of operations have plans to eventually embrace AMRs and other robotics, many companies are weary of “jumping the gun” and deploying the systems too soon. Companies want proof that AMR technology will work for their unique business cases, and are reluctant to invest in making the switch without first determining that it is, in fact, the right decision to make.
But how can a business determine if AMRs are the right fit for their operation? The answer lies in emulation.
How to Determine Whether AMRs Are Right for Your Operation
Most often, when a warehouse or distribution center is evaluating the different options available to them for automation, scenarios are run through data analysis to design a system that is capable of performing at the level needed to meet performance and ROI requirements.
Data analysis and emulation are incredibly helpful in calculating and validating the expected performance of a system, and in fine-tuning the system’s capabilities. It’s one thing to be told that a theoretical system works well in an emulator, but quite another to actually see the system perform live on the warehouse floor.
With many automation options, such as automated sortation or AS/RS, data analysis and emulation are the only available means of testing the system before committing to it and deciding whether or not to implement it. But with AMRs, there is another path: Implementing a proof of concept program.
Conveyco’s Proof of Concept Program for AMRs
Designed to help operations directly experience the positive effects that an AMR system can have on their operation, our AMR Proof of Concept Program leverages the flexibility of AMRs.
The POC program works like this:
Relying on Conveyco’s RightFIT Methodology, we conduct data analysis to understand the applications that are required in your operation and determine the viability of utilizing AMRs to meet your needs. If AMRs do not seem to be the best technology to meet the needs of your operation, we will document and recommend a different path forward.
This analysis directs the system’s ultimate design, including which individual technologies (and AMRs) will be required. As a vendor-neutral integrator, we are committed to creating the perfect solution for your unique business case. This means that we will mix and match different types of AMRs and other technologies in order to bring the largest benefit to your operation.
Once the design is generated, it is assessed from a neutral standpoint with a goal of mitigating risk, improving performance, and reducing costs. A system emulation is then conducted to ensure that the system meets the performance that is required of it.
An organization’s unique requirements, processes and procedures are then designed into an emulation of the full system.
At this point, the implementation can start or a proof of concept can be developed before the full system is built out. The full system is scaled to a single module. This can be implemented in your facility, our facility or third party location. The goal is to collect data and validate the hardware, software and controls to ensure that it will scale as intended.
Ultimately, the result of the program is that any doubt in the efficacy of AMRs for your operation is removed. With this doubt removed, the full AMR system design can be implemented confidently.
Removing Doubt, Revealing the Path
For order fulfillment operations serving nearly every industry, autonomous mobile robots are demonstrating excellent performance and efficiencies to reduce labor and drive profits. The technology can be leveraged in support of applications as diverse as order picking, replenishment, consolidation, transportation, storage and retrieval, returns processing, cross-docking, kitting, palletizing, and more.
“Organizations are seeing the results AMRs can deliver. However, they are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options that are available and where this technology can be applied within their operations,” said Ray Cocozza, president of Conveyco Technologies, in announcing the program.
“The Conveyco AMR POC Program is designed to address this fear by providing a scalable approach to select the best technology and tune the concept before committing to the full system investment.”
Are you interested in the potential role that AMRs can play in your operation? Are you curious to understand the potential impact that the technology can have on your business? Click here to request a consultation with one of our systems integrators, who will answer any questions you may have about our AMR Proof of Concept Program.