Manufacturing Value Chain

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Leveraging Robots to Increase Operational Capacity

By John Santagate

There are a lot of reasons that organizations are turning to commercial service robotics. Topping the list of reasons for deploying commercial service robots, according to IDC's North American Commercial Service Robotics Survey, are improving productivity/efficiency, improving product service/quality, and increasing operational capacity. Indeed, these results fall in line with the organizational objectives that many firms that IDC speaks with indicate are driving their corporate strategy. Corporate strategy is often used to drive spending on technology and process improvements and commercial service robotics is a newer technology area that is delivering significant gains to those companies that have deployed robots into their operation.

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Ecommerce order fulfillment and retail order fulfillment operations are facing increasing customer demands and expectations of accelerated delivery times, while simultaneously facing a challenging labor market. These market dynamics are forcing such operations to look at autonomous mobile robotic technology as a means to increase capacity, increase productivity and efficiency, reduce labor risk, and better manage the costs of operating a fulfilment center. The past several years has seen a rapid uptick in the number of vendors supplying such robots, each with some unique form, function, or other differentiating factor.

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