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Want to increase efficiency and speed and remove the risk of human error when it comes to processes in the warehouse? Then for years automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and now autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have promised the answer. Evolutions in automation are fundamental to shifts in the economy. Be it social distancing creating pressures on the way that warehouses are staffed – or the rise in e-commerce as the driving force of retail during a global pandemic, AGVs and AMRs are providing the backbone to such shifts. Gavin Williams, managing director – supply chain, at XPO Logistics, tells Logistics Manager that the onset of Covid-19 and the response to the pandemic in the past three months has seen “five years of e-commerce growth in the space of five days!’ “There is a genuine new adopter using e-commerce,” he says of consumer buying habits during lockdown, “[and]there is obviously a definite swing to e-commerce and Covid-19 has accelerated it. It has become normal for people to use e-commerce, and I can see these trends being brought forward.” For a 3PL like XPO Logistics, which has invested heavily in robotics and automation in its warehouses, using AMRs in particular to facilitate the industry shift is a “game-changer” for logistics in the medium to long-term. “We are focusing heavily on AMRs – robots and cobots – and the reason we are doing that is it can have a significant benefit to accuracy; safety of employees; people engagement and efficiency. These are four good reasons – you are making your service more accurate; the environment you work in safer; the people that work in your environment are more engaged and you optimise and make more efficient the service you provide to our customer,” he says. “What cobots really do is take out non […]
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