I get asked a lot what the future of material handling looks like - and I always excitedly answer “the future is right now”.

There have been incredible recent advances in several areas that all contribute to powerful material handling automation solutions. Autonomous robot-driven lift trucks are available now to take on all sorts of repeating operations in your warehouse or manufacturing facility. Fortune favours the bold and taking a bold step towards automating your material handling may be easier and hold more benefits than you realize.

There are several key advantages to starting to incorporate robotics for your material handling needs. This recent Yale white paper does an excellent job of outlining these and also focuses on the return on investment when incorporating robotic solutions:


The ROI of Robotics: Financial and Operational Sense



Don’t know where to start with robotics? You’re not alone. Many potential adopters believe that any automation would require extensive changes to their existing systems or that robotics are an “all or nothing” solution, requiring a leap to complete automation in a single step. This simply isn’t the case.

Modern automation focuses on using existing infrastructure as much as possible. As an example, older automation required the installation of new equipment such as ground wires, tape, magnets and reflectors to navigate fixed routes - whereas current robotic lift trucks use the same LIDAR technology as self-driving cars to navigate and adjust routes on the fly. And instead of automating everything at once, some of the best benefits can be seen by doing a partial, phased approach where you “pick the low hanging fruit” and automate a tiny bit. Look at replacing highly repetitive, time-consuming (often boring and detested), tasks with automated processes to help with labour shortages and free up your valuable staff for more engaging, meaningful positions.

Finally, another common misconception is that evaluating your worksite for any type of automation would be a long and intensive process. Most are surprised to find out that site assessments take only a few minutes. After which, choices are given in an initial presentation along with an ROI chart - all to make it easy and clear regarding your available robotic options and their financial benefits.

Curious about automation? I highly encourage you to have a look at the linked Yale whitepaper above. As cost efficiency is more important now than ever before, this article helps to understand the ROI perspective on automation - and how incorporating a small amount of robotics now opens the door to further cost efficiency in the future. If you have further questions or are interested in exploring an onsite automation evaluation for your business, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Troy Spreeuw -