Robotics has spread to the lengths and breadths of industrial applications. Autonomous robots can recognize and learn from their surroundings and make independent decisions. However, due to the lack of agility and limited navigation capabilities, robots were confined to only executing repetitive tasks in the past.
However, autonomous robots have become much more sophisticated due to improved processors, accurate sensors and reliable actuators. Today, they can augment the speed and accuracy in healthcare and mining to even agricultural routine operations. But now, these robots are up against a new challenge—the ripple effects of economic slowdown on the supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Autonomous robots present promising opportunities for optimization across supply chain activities. According to studies, 94% of fortune 1000 companies have faced this supply chain disruption, while 75% of companies report negative or strongly negative impacts.
Implementing robotic automation can bring value to the supply chain by making operations more fluid. Mechanical automation can help warehouses and manufacturing units stay active round the clock and manage tasks that are otherwise difficult for humans.
Read on to explore how robotics help growing businesses tackle supply chain issues and drive productivity.
Businesses that utilize autonomous robots have deployed them to perform targeted functions within their supply chain to reach expected efficiency gains. With the help of advanced sensors, they can easily pick, recognize and pack, test, build, sort, transport, or inspect materials of different weights and sizes in a safer and faster way.
With technological advancements, robotic set-ups have become more accessible and intuitive. Technicians can train the robot to perform various tasks in a matter of minutes or hours. In today’s highly volatile market conditions, robots can stabilize labor and maintain consistency in the production processes. Moreover, businesses have the ability to scale production to fulfill increasing or decreasing demands quickly.
Robots can help reduce the impact of issues related to logistics or the availability of parts. With automation, businesses can simplify inventory management and optimize their resource utilization.
One of the critical reasons for the supply chain disruption is the rising costs of raw materials, logistics and labor. Autonomous robots essentially reduce direct and indirect costs of operation while increasing revenue potential. In addition, they help businesses maintain high productivity levels and stay competitive by working tirelessly.
Sensors help these robots maintain a high level of accuracy and leave a minimal margin for error. Warehouses and manufacturing units, in particular, can leverage robots to carry out meticulous tasks or activities that require great precision. Manufacturers can also simplify picking, sorting, and storing or make their workspace less obtrusive by deploying robots on the assembly lines.
By minimizing wastage, increasing productivity and reducing errors, robots help businesses reduce the overall production cost.
Labor shortage is another factor which drives the supply chain disruption. Unfortunately, this problem is growing even worse. According to estimates, there will be a shortage of 85 million workers worldwide by 2030. Robots can fill these labor gaps and make businesses more resilient to the labor crisis.
They can also work alongside humans for added efficiency and reduce the risk of injuries while working in a dangerous environment. Implementing robotic automation also Improves branding through signaling innovation and leading-edge practices.
Autonomous robots have already found their way to the supply chain, and now the question is where and how you choose to apply them. They are now more accessible and feasible and continue improving with hardware and software advancements. Robots are becoming more sophisticated with better navigation systems and the emergence of AI and machine learning for more complex applications.
Implementing mechanical automation can give enterprises a significant competitive advantage in the next decade or so. Now is the time when businesses assess their supply chain, prepare for integration and turn this opportunity to their advantage.
Hokuyo is one of the pioneers of sensor technology and automation. We direct our efforts into creating the most up-to-date sensors to keep up with the evolving automation technologies that drive innovation today. We offer a wide range of sensors for nearly all industrial applications.
Contact us to find the perfect piece of sensor technology for your autonomous robot application.