Posted by Thelma Marshall, VP of Solutions, May 19, 2020
Today’s business climate demands optimum efficiency. Challenges of COVID – 19 has many industries examining how they do business. Manufacturing and warehouse industries need solutions that increase productivity, while maximizing the use of each employee’s time. One solution is deploying an Automatic Guided Vehicle System (AGVS).
Driverless vehicles may sound very futuristic, but it’s happening now and for good reason –especially in the supply chain industry. AGVS are wheel-based load carriers, typically powered by batteries, controlled by computer software commands.
Basically, a driverless lift truck that moves loads on the plant or warehouse floor when programed to complete those designated tasks.
How will this boost efficiency? AGVS free-up employees from disruptions to their work flow in order to perform mondain tasks. For example, a skilled employee that must stop the work they are focused on to move pallets several times a shift probably feels that their time and skills are not valued.
Also, AGVS provide insight to improve how you operate. These vehicles operate on a digital system that enable systematic gathering of value-driven data. Through analysis of that real-time data, processes can be changed, revised and improved to create a workflow of greater efficiency and improved operational functionality.
The employee’s helper
By relying on an AGVS to move pallets, each of your employee’s time is focused solely to their area of expertise without interruption, increasing efficiency, job satisfaction and overall productivity.
This goes a long way to improving employee morale. Sounds like a small thing, but when an employee feels valued, they tend to be a more dedicated worker and produce more. Feeling good about their place on their team often creates a personal commitment to company goals and achievement of KPIs.
Software with management skills
The software that manages programing AGVS vehicles also controls communication and information exchange.
For example, it can
- Control routing and traffic on the floor to maximize efficiency and to minimize congestion.
- Connect the request for product movement with an AGV to perform the task.
- Monitor and controls things like battery charging and maintenance schedules.
- Communicates with other warehouse management software, production control systems, material resource planning systems.
- Notify supervisors of problems or alarms
- Analyze data and break down information into actionable insight that improves efficiencies.
Looking to AGVS and Embracing Industry 4.0
This technology will become more commonly used – probably sooner that you might think. Software systems are now designed to marry with AGVS seamlessly and manufacturers are designing and engineering solutions that make the employee experience when interacting with the technology a positive and empowering one.
As you look to embracing Industry 4.0 in your facility, you can trust that the software is designed for ease in use. This means simplified programing and reconfiguration of AGVS robots for any employee that will be interacting with the system.
Employees will be able to see that this automation is designed to provide time saving solution to better complete their daily tasks, not to a threat that could eliminate their positions.