Seegrid Thought Leader Jim Rock Shares Role of Innovation and Lean in Material Handling Sector

Jim Rock, Seegrid CEO authored an article in the current issue of Industrial Engineering, titled, “Safety, Innovation and Lean Methodology Drive Massive Improvements to the Material Handling Sector.” According to Rock, “Safety, lean manufacturing and innovation are not mutually exclusive ideas; rather they are integrated and interdependent. While safety is the initial driver, innovation and best practice solutions are vital for manufacturing and distribution companies to remain competitive in a price-sensitive and customer-focused industry.”

All innovations in the material handling sector begin with safety. Safety drives innovation and lean manufacturing. Innovation drives safety and lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing drives safety and innovation. Industrial engineers must be familiar with the regulatory compliance requirements when designing solutions that incorporate safety as a primary function.

Armed with lean Six Sigma methodologies, industrial engineers have been the pioneers in the material handling industry. This is most evident in the automotive sector. Injury-prone forklifts are being rapidly replaced with automated guided vehicles (AGVs). Driven by industrial automation, global demand for AGVs was roughly 16,000 units in 2015, up 35 percent against the previous year.

AGVs are most widely used in the automotive and power industries (59 percent together in 2015). In the automotive industry, AGVs primarily are used in automobile assembly – engine and transmission assembly lines. As the level of automation in automobile production lines improves, the demand for AGVs in the automobile industry is expected to reach 10,500 units in 2020.

To read the entire article, go to:

Industrial Engineer, Engineering and Management Solutions at Work, is the member magazine of the Institute of Industrial Engineers The publication provides useful, interesting, timely and thought-provoking content that addresses the broad spectrum of industrial engineering practice in all industries.

About Seegrid

Seegrid (, the pioneer and leader in three-dimensional vision navigation, provides unique and revolutionary automation technology for materials handling.  Engineered with state-of-the-art Seegrid Vision, industrial trucks are transformed into the next generation of AGVs: vision guided vehicles (VGVs). VGVs navigate without wires, lasers, magnets, or tape, and deliver unmatched flexibility. Designed for simplicity and reliability, the Seegrid flexible automation solution is offered in a line of pallet trucks and tow tractors. 

Experience the maximum benefits of VGVs with Seegrid Supervisor to manage, monitor, and control a fleet of vehicles in context of your operation. Generating economic advantages and operational efficiencies, VGVs optimize workflow processes, increase productivity and throughput, and optimize labor and operating costs.  An award-winning organization, Seegrid is experiencing significant growth both in employees and clients. Multi-billion dollar organizations focused on lean manufacturing best-practices are turning to the Pittsburgh-based robotics leader. From large automotive operations to retail distribution centers, Seegrid VGVs are advancing the reality of a Fork Truck Free approach. VGVs improve workplace safety, reduce equipment and product damage, and deliver a rapid return on investment. Seegrid customers include: Whirlpool, Kohler, Walgreens, Volvo, and 3M.

Follow Seegrid on Twitter at @Seegrid.

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