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How to Budget for Automation and AMRs

Increase Your ROI: How to Effectively Plan and Budget for Automation

January 28, 2021  |  Seegrid

The ongoing pandemic and recession continue to present a seemingly endless stream of challenges for automotive manufacturers. Everything from shifting consumer preferences and unpredictable supply shortages to higher-than-normal-worker absence rates and new safety regulations stemming from COVID-19 have all highlighted the impact of production disruptions. 

Automotive manufacturers are increasingly turning to new technology and scalable automation strategies to create supply chain flexibility and adaptability for future disruptions. Seegrid’s manufacturing automation solutions increase efficiency, safety, and productivity. According to Deloitte’s latest 2021 manufacturing industry outlook report, 76% of manufacturing executives intend to increase their investments in digital initiatives and plan to pilot and implement more Industry 4.0 technologies.

Automotive manufacturers are increasingly adding and expanding factory automation solutions to their portfolio, particularly as signs point to a solid rebound in sales and production of new vehicles in 2021 and 2022. Seegrid Palion autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) help automotive OEMs alleviate growing supply chain pressures and remain competitive, no matter the disruption.

First Steps to Automation Success: Identify Processes, Problems, and Possibilities

Before implementing an automation system, a company should first understand their three P’s: processes, problems, and possibilities. For successful implementation and utilization of new automation technology, it is critical to understand the ins and outs of a facility’s processes to tackle any problems and successfully streamline workflows. By partnering with Seegrid, our expert team of industrial engineers will work directly with you and analyze your facility layout to identify the best ways to integrate automation for the quickest possible return on investment and maximum productivity.

Not all AMRs and AGVs are created equal, and there are different forms of automation technology for different applications. Seegrid Palion AMRs are designed for flexibility and can streamline workflows across the entire facility. From inbound and inter-facility to outbound material movement, Palion AMRs boost productivity, reduce costs, and increase safety across a wide array of automotive manufacturing processes. For example, when new vehicle parts and materials arrive, they are received and staged for transport. From there, Palion Tow Tractors can haul multiple heavy loads of parts and materials to a bulk storage location, where they can be unloaded and stored.

Automation also addresses potential problems that may disrupt your processes. Seegrid can help your manufacturing facility manage unpredictable demand. Palion AMRs provide resiliency and scalability to ramp up production quickly, change processes easily, and seamlessly redeploy to different operations. Automation can also help you avoid problems caused by worker absences. Automated material flow reduces the need for human workers to move around and limits human interactions, reducing everyone’s risk of exposure to illness. In one example, Palion AMRs allowed for a 50% reduction in operator touches over the course of one shift by automating payload exchanges. 

After identifying your processes and potential problems, don’t forget to think big picture and consider the possibilities. When evaluating automation options, search for a solution that can accommodate your current needs as well as anticipated needs in the future as your organization grows.

Define Your Robotic Automation Goals

Once you identify your facility’s processes, problems, and possibilities, you need to define your goals and success metrics. Set benchmarks and starting points you can measure against. Do you want to increase ROI? Increase throughput? Improve health and safety? In order to measure your success and progress over time, you first need to establish what the goals are and where you are starting.

This process can begin by examining the difficult manual problems within the facility. This typically involves redeploying employees from tedious and risk-prone jobs to safer and more value-added jobs. This not only improves safety but also saves money, improves employee satisfaction, and boosts productivity. On average, 95 million people miss work each year as a result of a workplace injury, and the total annual cost of work injuries is estimated at $170.8 billion. Seegrid delivers on the promise of safety. Our AMRs have driven more than 4 million miles at customer sites without a single personnel safety incident, which is unmatched in the industry.

Leverage Expert AMR Vendors for Your Automation Equipment Needs

Before you purchase anything, Seegrid application engineers visit our customer sites and develop tailored automation solutions and a business case. We help you understand how and where to implement flexible automation in order to achieve your goals.

Once your automation plan is identified, our implementation team joins you on-site to ensure the successful deployment, training, and adoption of Palion AMRs. Your fleet of Palion AMRs can be ready on day one. Unlike other AMR vendors, Seegrid automated tow tractors, lift trucks, and pallet jacks can be installed while production is running, with zero disruption to operations. 

With the guidance of our experts, your fleet of material handling industrial robots can be trained and running in a matter of hours. Our technology also makes changing routes and retraining easy. When processes change, simply drive or walk the robots through the new desired routes and redeploy your Palion AMRs to a different function, shift, or facility—without the need of assistance from Seegrid representatives. Our infrastructure-free, vision-enabled approach gives you total flexibility and complete control. Dispatching can be manual or rule-based by using our fleet management software, Supervisor. Simply enter your desired destination on the screen and activate driverless mode. 

With a connected solution and enhanced visibility into your operation, your team can dynamically train, dispatch, and re-route Palion AMRs to other locations or a different manufacturing line to support changing demands. Our superior services ensure your success and progression in achieving your automation goals, every step of the way.

Optimize Your Automation Investment Strategy

While organizations continue to adopt factory automation to quickly scale, some are facing the challenge of having capital funds frozen as companies re-evaluate budget priorities following the pandemic. This will require a shift in automation investment strategy from being a capital expense to an operating expense. Organizations in this situation could prioritize finding an automation vendor that offers multiple options including leasing a flexible automation system to reduce the up-front capital while still providing a quick ROI. Seegrid understands the need to justify automation investments, and we design our programs to deliver results. Our customers typically see an ROI within six to twenty-four months and set our customers up to succeed in the future.

Achieve Your Automation Goals, Today and Tomorrow

Investing in a robotics solution that allows your company flexibility to easily make changes for your ongoing needs without completely overhauling, creating downtime, and overspending is crucial. Change is inevitable. Automation solutions should provide the flexibility that is needed to adapt and adjust over time to continue improving. Palion AMRs increase throughput productivity, improve employee and facility safety, reduce operation and labor costs, and drive continuous improvement in the future. Choose a partner like Seegrid that can adapt alongside your company’s growth, peaks, and budget to maximize value and avoid the costly task of overhauling your automation investment and starting over. With the right automation partner, processes and workflows become more efficient to achieve productivity and safety goals, not just for today, but also in the future as your company evolves.

Download our infographic to learn more about driving costs down with automation:

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