Automated Guided Vehicles offer value: MHIA study

Report shows Gen Y more intuitive, will manage material handling systems better
By Bob Vavra September 24, 2009

The Automatic Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVS) Industry Group of Material Handling Industry of America has released its Fall 2009 Quarterly Report, " AGVS Delivering Productivity to the New Economy ". The report asserts that the combination of Generation Y workers, today’s automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) and the new economy is a formula for new found productivity.
Generation Y workers are not generally interested in the traditional ways of moving inventory from point A to point Z. They are more accustomed to computers and automation and less enthusiastic about manual labor. These workers are a good match for AGVs that free employees to master the technologies that will let them take a more direct hand in material handling and logistics management – including pick-by-voice, radio frequency identification, bar code scanning, and even AGV system configuration.
"An AGV enables you to use people to add value to your product," says JBT Corp.’s Mark Longacre, chairman of the AGVS Industry Group. "Our big focus is on user friendliness and ease of use, both on the vehicle side as well as the host software side," Longacre says. "A person who can turn his computer on and surf the internet can run an AGV system."
Having people who can collect and analyze data as well as reconfigure the AGV system at a moment’s notice is extremely important to productivity today. "Companies need to make changes to their products quickly," says Jervis B. Webb’s Sarah Carlson, vice-chair of the AGVS Industry Group. "With AGVs you don’t have to rip out infrastructure. They’re modular and can handle different products without making major changes to your entire system."
To view the full report, go to www.mhia.org.