eCommerce Convergence Drives Autonomous Robotics

Discovering the Secrets of Autonomous Robots
Discovering the Secrets of Autonomous Robots
eCommerce Convergence Drives Autonomous Robotics


Our new video puts into perspective how forces such as

  • the growth of eCommerce
  • labor challenges
  • cost pressures, and
  • the big power shift to consumers

are triggering a new paradigm in materials handling and fulfillment.

Have any questions or want to learn more? Contact us.

Transcript of VidCast below:

Slide – 1

Hello, and welcome to this informative series of videos we call “Discovering the Secrets of Autonomous Robots.”

This is a series of short takes on hot topics in the emerging world of Autonomous Mobile Robotics for materials handling.

In our first episode we start at the beginning by examining the fundamental question:

Why Robots?

What’s driving so much excitement in the materials handling world around Autonomous Mobile Robots? What forces are converging right now to make Autonomous mobile robots or ‘AMRs’ the perfect answer to our current challenges?

Slide – 2

Open any distribution, manufacturing or material handling trade journal today and you will find an article about robotics and specifically robotic automation.

This is because there are several market and business forces that are creating a perfect OPPORTUNITY for automation innovation and enabling new workflows that will become the norm over the next decade and into the future.

Slide – 3

The primary market force driving automation adoption up and down the supply chain is the continuing growth of eCommerce.  Global eCommerce Sales have grown to over 10% of all sales and continue to expand at 20-30% a year.

The Amazon Effect means that businesses who used to worry about fulfilling orders of pallets and cases to physical stores now find themselves needing to ship eaches and pieces directly to consumers.

In addition to smaller quantities, consumers’ expectations of DELIVERY have dramatically changed.  What used to be a 6 day delivery expectation is now next day or even faster.

Slide –  4

The power has shifted to the consumer, putting tremendous pressure on traditional supply chains

If you can’t give them WHAT they want, WHEN they want it, at the QUALITY they need – they will LEAVE you.  This is causing fulfillment operations to reexamine their execution in order to survive and thrive.

Slide – 5

To solve this eCommerce challenge in the short term, many companies have just thrown labor at it, which is difficult, inefficient and expensive. Labor is already hard to find, and the labor requirement in distribution is doubling year over year. Meanwhile, the available labor pool is shrinking so more companies are fighting over the same resources.

Look at recent moves by local governments to raise minimum wages, and Amazon’s and others’ recent increase of minimum pay…  All of this is putting cost pressure on companies.

$3 dollars an hour may not seem like a lot, but that could represent a 20% increase in cost for these labor-intensive fulfillment operations.

Slide – 6

And of course, in any supply chain there is already a constant pressure to create efficiencies and drive cost out.  It is a baseline imperative.

If you are an Operations manager you must continue to drive efficiencies in and cost out, year over year.

Slide – 7

As supply chains are under pressure to automate, autonomous mobile robots have emerged as a credible solution that enables new workflows to address these converging business pressures.

Slide – 8

Autonomous mobility lets the robots move about the facility independently. They know where they are and are aware of their surroundings.  They can share the same space as workers safely and collaborate with workers to get more work done.

Mobile robots are no longer tied to a fixed path or a strip on the floor.  This enables workflows that are more efficient, intelligent, flexible and cost effective than alternative fixed automation solutions.

Slide –            9

Autonomous mobile robotic workflows are getting a lot of attention today because they can address challenges in a superior way. Material handling workflows that were previously immune to automation can now be transformed into flexible, efficient, cost-effective advantages.

Slide – 10

So to sum it up, Autonomous Mobile Robotic workflows provide excellent throughput and efficiency in a piece picking environment. They are much more flexible than traditional fixed automation solutions, and they cost much less to install.

Slide – 11

Thanks for listening and watching. If you’d like to learn more about autonomous mobile robots in your environment, please contact me!