Automation in logistics is booming due to several reasons such as driver shortage, reducing operational costs and increasing efficiency. However, automated solutions may not be the answer for every logistics flow. It all comes down to eliminating unnecessary processes and adding value where it makes most sense. Toyota can help you take the automation journey step by step, where man & AGV can complement each other.
Automating your material handling processes can seem complex, but often the material flow throughout your site is quite logic, regardless if it's a warehouse or a production site. With our systematic approach we can easily find common functions that can be identified as configurable modules for repetitive use. This is the Toyota way of working: separating repetitive flows from unique ones within the process.
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are ideal to use for your repetitive flows. Together we will identify the flows where automation will add the most value and take on your automation journey step by step. When we have identified which flows to automate, lean thinking will help us eliminate waste, and standardise processes to make automation smoother.
Let’s take a look at this manufacturing site to see which processes can easily be carried out by AGVs and take the first step...
Where pallets are moved, there are often simple transportations from one specific station to another specific station. In distribution centres where pallets are directly transported from inbound to outbound this is called cross-docking.
In a warehouse or manufacturing site, there are always a lot of empty pallets as goods have been used or picked. Empty pallets are also needed to place picked items or finished goods from the production on.
Pallets with finished goods are picked up at a temporarystorage or the wrappers close to production or picking areas, and dropped off at the outbound area, typically floor buffers or deep stacks, waiting to be loaded into lorries.
A large fleet of Toyota AGV's at Albert Heijn's distribution centre
"Albert Heijn chose automated guided vehicles to transport pallets throughout the distribution centre. The more AGVs in operation, the more stores could be supplied. For the best solution, the company turned to Toyota Material Handling, with whom they already have a long-term relationship."
Our systems integration group specialises in state-of-the-art automation applications for order preparation, product sortation and high-density storage technologies. Controlled with modular Warehouse Execution Systems (WES), these are designed to optimise our customers’ material handling operations.
Close co-operation with Vanderlande
We also work together with our sister company Vanderlande, global market leader for value-added logistic process automation, along which we offer a wide range of fully automated solutions for airports, warehouses and the parcel industry.
In order to optimise efficiency and flexibility in your warehouse, Toyota offers different types of automation products and components. These will support you in your journey to automate material handling processes.
Tine’s dairy products carefully handled by Toyota AGV
In TINE's new warehouse dairy goods are automatically picked up on a conveyor belt and stored in a rack by an automated reach truck from Toyota. Automating this process delivered many benefits to Tine.
Automated stackers interact safely with forklift drivers at Coop
Using automated trucks in manual storage environments can be a challenging combination. At the Coop regional warehouse in Trondheim, the warehouse employees have learned to work safely with the automated stackers.