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Autonomous robots for the distribution center promise improved productivity, reduced labor costs and greater flexibility. But as with all emerging technologies, the decision must be made: Should you adopt now, or wait for the tech to mature?
To help companies make this decision, Fortna runs models that analyze the business case of bot usage in different scenarios. Analysis shows that these seven instances have a strong business case for investment today.
The trend towards using robots in distribution will continue to accelerate as the economics improve. Today, there are limited use cases where bots make sense. But as bots become more capable and less expensive, they will be justified in a wider range of functions — and in DCs with higher pick densities. Longer term, advancements in robotic arms and grippers, 3-D vision and sensor systems and artificial intelligence, will be added to bots to accelerate the trend toward “lights out”, fully-automated distribution centers.
Luke Nuber is an account executive with Fortna Inc.
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