Jeff Christensen, vice president of products at Seegrid, recently discussed in Food Logistics magazine how the chronic shortage of qualified labor in the food and logistics industry is boosting interest in automation, including automated lift trucks.
Removing labor from the equation not only saves on costs, but also reduces the safety risks that comes with employing people, especially those performing dangerous or repetitive tasks that threaten or strain the body. Every three days someone is killed in a lift truck-related accident, according to Jeff Christensen, vice president of products at Seegrid, who likes the burgeoning technology because it not only takes humans out of harm’s way, but also eradicates 72 percent of the total cost of lift truck ownership by phasing out labor.
Christensen continues, “Companies in the food and beverage industry need to remove costs from the distribution system and reinvest those savings into prices on the shelf to remain competitive. Employing automated lift trucks is advantageous because they simplify processes, thereby making tasks more efficient, which subsequently drives down operational costs and allows for operators to be off the floor more, reducing accidents and driving value-added work.”
Although AGVs were invented in 1953, according to Christensen, the technology is exponentially evolving. While infrastructure, such as the use of magnets, wires, sensors and lasers on and under warehouse floors, is still in vogue to guide the autonomous lift trucks, advanced vision technology is quickly becoming the new norm. Because this advanced technology doesn’t require any infrastructure, AGVs are free to move wherever they need to without having to follow rigid pre-determined guidelines.
Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the food supply chain. In every issue, the publication writes about the news, trends and best practices that will help grocery and foodservice manufacturers and distributors make better business decisions.
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