December 2, 2021AutoGuide 2021 Blog Highlights: Read About AMRs, Supply Chain Challenges, Lean Six Sigma and Warehousing Operations, and MoreAutonomous mobile robots (AMRs) benefits, supply chain, data analytics, lean six sigma, workplace safety, reshoring, and material handling trends are some of the themes we highlighted on our 2021 blog. In January 2021 we launched our blog with the underlying goal of giving you content and thought leadership that informs, educates, and stimulates conversation (and maybe even encourages a move towards automation, AMRs).We know 2021 was another topsy-turvy year – balancing new working realities and life during a pandemic – making it challenging to stay updated with the steady stream of information.Enter this month’s blog post – a highlight reel of our 2021 posts with links to blogs you may have missed, want to read again, or share with your colleagues.If you have a topic, you would like us to write about in 2022, please contact us. We write these blog posts for you, and we want to make sure you’re getting what you want and need from our content. January 2021: Ready to Bring AMRs into Your Operation? Make Sure You Know These Five Keys to SuccessHow do you successfully bring AMRs into your operation and make the move to automation? The key to a successful transition to AMRs starts with identifying aspects of your operation that can benefit the most from automation and focusing on incremental changes that set you up for future growth.This comes down to understanding the five keys to AMR success:Costs, savings, and return on investmentRight tool for the jobInfrastructure mattersIntegrating software for long-term successGrowth, flexibility, and adaptabilityWith this knowledge, you can understand how AMRs, when deployed the right way, can transform your operations – delivering cost savings, improving safety, allowing you to better utilize employees, and ultimately increasing efficiency.Read more about the benefits of AMRs and how to successfully integrate AMRs into your operations. Ready to Bring AMRs into Your Operations? Make Sure You Know These Five Keys to Success: Questions to ask and features to look for in your AMR solutionFebruary 2021: Safety, Your Operations and AMRsA safe workplace contributes to productive and profitable operations. Knowing which technologies, solutions, and workplace initiatives to invest in for maximum return on profitability, productivity, and safety is not easy.Technology alone does not necessarily bring improvements and relying solely on safety programs and education is not the answer. Enter AMRs. The right AMRs and fleet control software offer a balance between safety, productivity, and profitability. Read this first of our two-part series on automation and workplace safety to learn the facts on AMRs and their role in safety, including:What makes AMRs safe?The facts on AMR regulatory safety requirements and standardsRoles of the robot manufacturer, integrator, owner, and employees in workplace safetyRisk assessment checklistThe link between return on investment (ROI), safety, and profitabilitySafety, Your Operations and AMRs: How AMRs Contribute to Workplace SafetyMarch 2021: AMR Manufacturer, Integrator and Owner: What are Your Safety Responsibilities?The benefits of a safe workplace run deep. From increasing profits and improved productivity to more confident employees – a safe workplace is a differentiator. However, too many companies associate moving materials with risk. Risk does not need to be part of the equation. Risk assessments, safety standards, technology, and taking responsibility for safety contribute to eliminating workplace risk.How do you do consistently maintain a safe workplace without creating barriers to productivity or innovation? AMRs are your answer. Read the second of our two-part series on workplace safety to learn about the roles and responsibilities of the robot manufacturer, integrator, and owner in designing and deploying safe AMR solutions:AMR Manufacturer: uses their knowledge of their robots, fleet control software, safety standards and compliance.AMR Integrator: uses their knowledge of how to design a safe AMR system.AMR Owner: uses their knowledge of their operation, inherent risks, peak periods, payload demands, and employee concerns.AMR Manufacturer, Integrator and Owner: What are Your Safety Responsibilities? Understand how risk assessments and safety standards help you keep people safeApril 2021: The COVID-19 Impact on Manufacturing, Warehousing and DistributionThe global pandemic placed a spotlight on the fragility of the modern supply chain and manufacturing processes. And it also put a spotlight on how automation and robots can help.How can companies meet demands while keeping their employees safe and maintaining their bottom line? Conversations about infrastructure, reshoring, last-mile delivery, regionalization, automation, staffing, and ecommerce are happening across every industry.Read our April 2021 blog, where we discuss how COVID-19 has turned challenge into opportunity, giving companies the motivation to change how they think about creating, making, assembling, and delivering parts and products, including:Challenges in manufacturing, warehousing, and distributionTrends in manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain managementHow AMRs and automation support continuity of businessRobots and technology do make it easier for companies to react, respond, and remain viable in the face of new business demands, economic uncertainty, and shifting consumer expectations.The COVID-19 Impact on Manufacturing, Warehousing, and Distribution: How the pandemic put a spotlight on automation and robotsMay 2021: A Roadmap to Successful Automation with AMRsMajor advancements in automation technology, leadership, and expertise enable companies to change and optimize their operations with automation and AMRs.However, concerns over interruptions in the production environment and risks to throughput stability sometimes delay decisions to deploy automation. Understanding the challenges in moving from discussions about automation to a full-scale productive AMR deployment can address these concerns and get you on the path to automation.Read our roadmap to deploying automation for a proven process you can follow to ensure a successful, methodical, and strategic AMR implementation that mitigates as many risks as possible. The 6-step automation deployment roadmap:Identify opportunities for automationMeet with an AMR vendorDevelop and test an AMR deployment proof of conceptExecute and evaluate a pilot in the production environmentMove from pilot to deployment for a workflowExpand the AMR deployment to other workflows and facilitiesA Roadmap to Successful Automation with AMRS: How and why to automate your operationsJune 2021: Trends in Material Handling in a Post-Pandemic Supply ChainMaterial handling processes and equipment are essential to an effective and cost-efficient supply chain. You cannot have a resilient and responsive supply chain, and a profitable warehousing and distribution strategy, without a modern approach to material handling equipment, technology, and processes.Learn about material handling principles, challenges, and trends, including:Shifts in the post-pandemic supply chain and what this means for material handlingThe principles of material handling and how these drive new processesKey material handling trends shaping company supply chains and customer satisfactionHow disruptive technologies will continue to bring changes to material handling and supply chain managementTrends in Material Handling in a Post-Pandemic Supply Chain: How material handling equipment and technology help build supply chain resilienceJuly 2021: Sustaining a Lean Supply Chain in 2021 and BeyondConsumer demand for personalization and same-day delivery, and the boom in automation and IoT devices highlight the gaps in supply chain management strategies. What worked before, wasn’t necessarily broken – it just didn’t keep up with the times.Lean supply chain practices are the way forward. But this requires an adjustment to how companies adhere to the principles of lean and six sigma – molding them to meet their needs and customer demands. Read our July 2021 blog for a deep dive on:Lean six sigma supply chain management for today and tomorrowSupply chain realities and challengesFive strategies for continuous improvementThis is an exciting time – never has there been the experience, people, processes, and technology available to build truly resilient and optimized supply chains.Sustaining a Lean Supply Chain in 2021 and Beyond: Strategies for continuous improvement of supply chain agility and growthSeptember 2021: Meet eKAMI: The School that Is Changing Lives in Kentucky“eKAMI has changed my life. It has changed my family’s life. Thanks to eKAMI, I’m on a whole new path. It’s not easy learning a new career at 49 years old, but I’m ready. The instructors at eKAMI have given me the skills, confidence, and support I need to make this change,” says Kevin Yonts. After 30 years of working in the mines, Kevin has a new career and bright future ahead of him thanks to the Haas eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (eKAMI). Meet eKAMI and learn how it’s bringing opportunity to Appalachia. Learn how our parent company Teradyne, READY Robotics, Heartland Automation, and more companies are helping eKAMI bring 21st century advanced manufacturing education to Appalachia with the eKAMI Robotics Center.Meet eKAMI: The School that Is Changing Lives in Kentucky: Discover how people are learning key skills in robotics and CNC machiningOctober 2021: Meet eKAMI: Creating Opportunity with Advanced 21st Century Manufacturing EducationWith a focus on reshoring, made in America consumer demands, and same-day delivery expectations, U.S. companies are struggling to meet customer demands. Automation has helped alleviate some of these pressures, but AMRs and similar advanced technology still require people with knowledge of advanced robotics to program, operate, and manage the equipment. This is exactly why we want you know about the Haas eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (eKAMI) and how it is helping companies solve real-world U.S manufacturing challenges. Meet Kathy Walker, the founder and CEO of eKAMILearn how eKAMI is giving people 21st century advanced manufacturing educationGain insight into how eKAMI graduates give companies solutions to U.S manufacturing challengesMeet eKAMI: Creating Opportunity with Advanced 21st Century Manufacturing Education: Learn how eKAMI is helping companies fill the skills gap, and solve labor shortage and supply chain challengesNovember 2021: Understanding Data Analytics and the Benefits to Lean ManufacturingBig data is a key player in warehousing and manufacturing operations. From predicting customer demand to highlighting gaps in productivity, through to algorithms controlling brand awareness – big data is here.The good news is that warehousing, and manufacturing companies are using big data and data analytics to automate, power, and streamline operations. The bad news is many companies are drowning in data. Read our November 2021 blog for a deep dive on data analytics and manufacturing to help you understand how to use data to optimize your operations, including:The link between big data and lean manufacturingA refresher on continuous improvement in operationsHow data helps you think critically about your operationsHow big data optimizes continuous improvementStrategies for using data in your operationsUnderstanding Data Analytics and the Benefits to Lean Manufacturing: Learn how data analytics support warehousing and manufacturing efficienciesAs we wrap up 2021, we look forward to continuing to help you optimize your operations in 2022. Contact us – our team is always available to discuss AMRs, automation, and your operations.