The use of robotic technologies, specifically autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), can be of substantial benefit to most warehouses and their workflows – far greater than warehouse operators may realise, says Padraig Regan, chief product officer, StayLinked.

Padraig Regan, chief product officer, StayLinked.

In fact, it’s possible to deploy robotic technologies without changing an entire warehouse environment, simply by focusing on where AMRs would enhance existing workflows to drive increased efficiency, productivity and where they will deliver the greatest return.

One challenge is identifying areas of the warehouse operation most applicable for robotic technologies

Hesitation around the adoption of robotics/automation technologies goes back to warehouse operators thinking that they must ‘start big’. They don’t. It’s not a rip-and-replace scenario, there is no need for large-scale implementation projects that are complex, risky, and costly.

Rather, the approach should be to adopt robotics/automation technologies where they deliver the most benefits from exactly where warehouse operations are today, with the flexibility to extend adoption at the pace determined by the warehouse operator.

One example of AMR deployment revolves around picker workflow. Pickers are tasked with scanning and picking as many items on an order as possible, as accurately as possible. Once these orders are complete, the items must be taken to the shipping department and prepared for distribution.

In many warehouses, pickers and the shipping department may be hundreds of metres apart, creating a breakdown in the workflow and an inefficient use of a skilled picker’s time.

By utilising an AMR, pickers can summon the robot when an order is completed, load the AMR, and send it to the shipping department. The picker is then free to continue picking the next order.

Successful deployment of AMRs is dependent on the technology adoption partner with whom warehouse operators are working. The ideal partner will simplify the process by having access to the right no-code technology adoption platform, such as StayLinked Evolve, allowing the deployment of AMRs to be completed within days.

It is crucial that any new robotic, or any new automation technology, is able to quickly and seamlessly talk to the warehouse management system (WMS), the lifeblood of any warehouse operation. Today’s no-code technology adoption platforms deliver this easy integration and remove the perceived complexity, risk and cost of new technology deployments – making it as close to plug and play as is possible.

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