8 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 product. Where they shine, though, is in their flexibility and ability to understand their environment and self-identify 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 8 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.
Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) Statistics
1. 90% of companies indicate plans to incorporate commercial service robots within their organizations in some way. (Source)
This data, from IDC’s 2018 Commercial Service Robotics Survey, includes input from supply chain companies and industry leaders. The report’s topics focus on both commercial and service robotics for companies in the North American region.
The report’s major takeaway includes the success of service robots and their future in improving operations for warehouses as a whole. John Santagate is the research director for IDC’s Commercial Service Robotics research program, and he mentions that while the current deployment of robotics may be increasing at a slow pace, the implementation of robotics services in the near future is expected to rise exponentially.
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 2021. (Source)
In 2016, more than 10% of U.S. warehouses were using automated warehousing equipment enabling a goods-to-person picking approach, but those numbers are expected to increase exponentially in the coming decades. For example, the projected growth in the number of warehousing robotic units is expected to be well over 600,000 by the end of 2021, a multiplication of 15 times the number in use in 2016.
4. Manual picking was used by 72% of warehouses in 2019, a 4% decline from last year. (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. Use of automated replenishment increased by 7% along with a 3% increase in AS/RS solutions. (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.
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)
Adoption of robotic solutions in order fulfillment and distribution is increasing substantially each year. For example, 40% more robots were sold in the U.S. last year than in the year prior. The automotive industry is the leading spender for robotics with $1.2 billion spent in 2016.
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.
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.
- Romaine has spent over 30 years involved with organizations looking to optimize their distribution, manufacturing, and warehousing operations. Focusing on the customer’s processes, automation and business model, Romaine has helped dozens of organizations improve profitability by reducing labor, floor space, errors and inventory while improving accuracy, inventory turns and cut-off times.
Within the industry trade association, MHI, Romaine has taken numerous leadership positions including: Chairman of the Automated Storage & Retrieval (AS/RS) Group, Chairman of the Order Fulfillment Council of America, Chairman of the Warehouse Execution Systems Group and was one of the originators of the Carousel and VLM Product Section Group. He has also spearheaded the efforts to create the first ANSI industry safety standards for horizontal carousels.
Romaine is a frequent editorial and information contributor to hundreds of publications, blogs and online publications and has been a speaker at dozens of Supply Chain, Logistics, Lean and Facility organizations and functions. Just a few include the Parcel Forum, Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), Promat, North American Material Handling, Modex, National Mfg Week, Southern California Plant Operations, NJ Material Handling Assoc., Applied Ergonomics, Warehousing Education & Research Council (WERC), Lean Manufacturing Conference, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), NeoCon, Health Information Distribution Association (HIDA), National Catalog & Operations (NCOF), CSCMP and more.