Now more than ever, warehouses are an essential component of today’s supply chain industry. However, as warehouse operations continue to grow in scale and complexity, the need for efficient and effective logistics solutions becomes increasingly important. But the one that has really taken front and center in recent years is the use of autonomous forklifts. These vehicles are able to navigate the warehouse environment on their own and can greatly improve warehouse efficiency and productivity.
Here are 5 reasons why warehouses need autonomous forklifts:
- Increased Efficiency: Autonomous forklifts can operate 24/7 without breaks. Although they aren’t moving at the speeds that a normal forklift operator would, they can move goods round the clock, which then greatly increases warehouse productivity and increases throughput.
- Reduced Costs: Autonomous forklifts can help to lower labor costs by reducing the need for rehiring to help support your already reduced workforce. With a shared autonomy approach, one of your forklift operators can manage a whole fleet of forklifts. This can be a significant cost-saving measure for warehouses, especially those that operate on a large scale.
- Improved Safety: Autonomous forklifts reduce the risk of workplace accidents, as they are able to navigate the warehouse environment more safely than human operators, using their sensors and cameras to give them a 360 degree field of view. They are also able to sense and avoid obstacles, which can help to prevent collisions and other hazards.
- Greater Flexibility: Autonomous forklifts can be programmed to perform a wide range of tasks, from moving goods to different areas of the warehouse to high bay putaway and even dunnage removal. This can help to increase the flexibility of warehouse operations and allow companies to respond more quickly to changes in demand.
- Better Data Collection and Analysis: Autonomous forklifts are equipped with sensors and other technologies that can collect data on warehouse operations. This data can be analyzed to identify patterns and trends, which then can be communicated through our Fleet Management System to your Warehouse Management System. And in turn, can be used to improve warehouse efficiency and productivity.
Overall, the use of autonomous forklifts in warehouses can bring a lot of benefits to companies that operate in this sector. However, implementation of an autonomous-only forklift solution needs to be done with proper planning and execution so that the warehouse can make the most of their capabilities. The easiest and most flexible way to adopt autonomous forklifts in your facility is choosing a solution that has a multimodal approach.
What is a multimodal approach? Frequently when you have an autonomous-only system, it will encounter one off issues or problems such as a pallet that’s broken, a ripped SKU or even a pallet hanging off a high rack. Instead of having the whole system halt to a stop, a multimodal or shared autonomy approach has the forklift ask your forklift operator for assistance.
Where issues may arise with an autonomous only approach, a multimode forklift can be given a remote assist by your forklift operator by answering a question and letting it know it’s safe to proceed or shifting the forklift into a remote operation mode to safely deal with the issue and return the forklift back into autonomous mode.
Warehouses are an essential part of modern supply chains and the need for automation has grown from a luxury to a necessity. As these industries continue to grow in scale and complexity, more and more we’re seeing that adopting automation, specifically a multimodal approach, is the safest and most seamless first step. Are you ready to see what that looks like for you? Contact us today to schedule a demo.