Lead Forensics

How can a truck and trolley manufacturer tie in with automated systems?

Truck and trolley manufacturers provide manual handling equipment that businesses need to move goods around the workplace. Large warehouses operated by Amazon, and major supermarkets like Tesco, have invested millions of pounds in automated technology to increase the speed and accuracy of picking and packing goods.

Some predict that one day the fully automated warehouse will be operated entirely by robots and machines without the need for human workers, but this day still seems some way off. Amazon uses robots, but still employed nearly 800,000 workers in 2019 alone.

The cost of automating a warehouse adds up fast, and is outside the budget of many small to medium-size businesses. They will continue to rely on their truck and trolley manufacturer to supply manual handling equipment, even if they introduce some automated systems.

The cost of automation vs. humans

Human workers need to be paid, but automation also has its costs. Many small to medium businesses take out a loan to buy expensive automated equipment, which has to be paid back with interest. Then there is the energy cost to run them, and maintenance costs. If equipment breaks down, this may cause a temporary halt to picking operations. If a warehouse supplies components for manufacturing, production may have to be halted if items cannot reach the production line on time.

When making purchasing decisions for automated equipment, these costs need to be taken into account when looking at the financial viability. For small storage areas, the cost of automation may not be worth it, especially if automation does not significantly increase production.

Humans and automation

In most situations where automation is introduced, humans will still be needed to work alongside the automated systems. For example, a conveyor belt can speed up journeys times by taking items from shelf locations to the packing station. Warehouse workers are needed to load items on the conveyor belt and take them off when they arrive at the packing station.

If a warehouse has robots that pick items, there needs to be a backup system in case a robot breaks down. Warehouse trucks and trolleys should be at hand for workers to use while the robot is being repaired.

There are systems designed to help employees be more productive. These include ones that guide workers to item locations using visual or audio signals. Route planning software plots the shortest route to pick a number of items located at various areas of the warehouse.

The future?

A good truck and trolley manufacturer will continue to supply quality manual handling equipment for the foreseeable future. The large growth of internet sales has fueled demand for more warehouse space and the equipment needed to make them organised and efficient.

Adding automated systems to a warehouse increases production, but a large number of workers will still be needed to operate manual handling equipment in combination with automation. There is research into fully automated warehouses operated by robots, but these do not yet threaten the truck and trolley manufacturer.

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