EXECUTION OPTIMIZATION WITH GOODS TO ROBOTS
With the acceleration of e-commerce and e-fulfilment in the past decade, Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR), a form of automated guided vehicles (AGV), are becoming a common use in distribution centers. Some AMRs do not require any major changes to a facility’s infrastructure to implement and operate and are often led around a facility to enable them to create a map of the facility. Other AGVs follow markers, magnets, or wires. Laser-guided vehicles (LGVs) are more flexible than older forms of AGVs.
There are two types of AMR related software:
- The fleet/robot management optimization software that determines the path while executing the task. This is often provided by the AMR solution provider.
- The pick optimization software that in many cases treat the robot as if they were human pickers, or work in concern with human pickers, with the objective to improve their productivity by reducing the amount of nonvalue added work they do.
The latter is often related to the overall management of the facility and as such, should be handled by the WMS. AMR’s will be led with the logic of how to pick, in which zones and related sequence, consolidation / wave picking, pick and sort, etc. This all needs to be optimized, planned and manage the various AMR’s to be included as part of the available resources in the distribution center.
With Made4net WMS/WES we offer an extensive amount of experience in configuration and implementations of solutions that include AMR’s as part of the execution resources. For example, in goods-to-robot picking, the robotic arm is stationary, which means it doesn’t have to determine the most efficient travel path to get the job done. What is more important is for the WMS to feed the right donor totes in the proper sequence so that the work is efficiently executed, being a piece in the overall operational and execution workforce.
Other relate business rule can consider capacity of the Robot (size/type and # of totes, mix of SKU’s in a batch of orders, etc.) and are all addressed in the planning engine within the WES.
Made4net WES offers flexibility of managing a range of technologies and picking resources (users with RF, Voice, AMR’s, MHE, etc.) all within a single system, that is second to none.