While there is plenty of hype surrounding logistics technology via drones and robots, it is important that assets like these are seen as much more than just specialist technology for geeks. They have very real logistics applications that are not just for high tech large organisations with big budgets. The key is that it’s all about the function they perform, the data and physical process improvements and benefits that can be realised. These are often within reach of small to medium businesses (SME).
Some of the benefits of using drones and robots include aerial intelligence gathering, reduction or elimination of risks to people working in the three ‘D’ environments (i.e. Dull, Dirty and Dangerous environments) and business productivity improvements that can result.
AML Advisory (AML) has witnessed a dramatic surge in interest by a variety of industry sectors seeking to take advantage of this technology across their logistics operations. No longer are businesses scared of pursuing this type of technology and actively want to know how to effectively introduce it into their workplace operations. New to AML’s technology service offering is a focus on the utility of drones and robots. More than just a futuristic expose into high tech big business, AML can assist businesses to explore the options that utilise their interest in drones and robots as a logistics multiplier.
You are mindful that drones and robots have a serious application to improving logistical operations. You may have seen many media articles advertising this amazing technology. But where do you go and who do you trust to ensure this expensive investment is what will drive your business improvement?
When business leaders are making technology investment decisions, they generally seek to hit their project targets for efficiency, productivity, schedule and budget. Often constrained by time and resources, they have little appetite to be consumed or distracted by numerous advertised options and the “bright shiny toy” syndrome that can quickly absorb their budget and schedule. Competitive advantage must be grasped when it is on offer and the amount of time between decision and execution of technology investments may be a risk to your competitive advantage. How much risk appetite to do you have?
AML has invested significantly in its specialist consultants to be able to advise businesses about their logistics technology options via the application of drones and robots. Through experience established in a variety of industry sector engagements, AML is fast becoming a valuable source of independent and solution agnostic advice.
The proliferation of information and data means existing business must move fast to avoid losing out to their competitors who will be early adaptors of this technology.
In terms of drones, the real benefits exist in capturing the data, processing, analysing, interpreting the results, and applying it to improve existing business operations. This also means that it requires the right people (e.g. technology specialists and data analysts) on board to realise the benefits.
In terms of robots, the real benefits exist in analysing existing processes, optimising workflows, automating physical and data operations, consistently monitoring via IoT sensors, dynamically planning and implementing pro-active/preventative (as opposed to reactive) maintenance to ensure business continuity 24/7.
Is your business looking to apply this technology to your operations?
A brief list of business applications includes:
1. Asset Management & Maintenance: Instead of sending out a maintenance team, drones and robots can quickly identify degradation in infrastructure, allowing businesses to more efficiently deploy their human resources, as well as reducing risks to their personal safety.
2. Collaborative Logistic Robots: while there has been a rapid adoption of totally automated robots in logistics, there is also a need for collaborative robots to work with humans in cases including when products have a huge variety (variability) of packing requirements and when there is a shortage of skilled workers that can affect logistic processes and business productivity.
3. Environmental Monitoring: Beyond the agricultural applications that aid farmers, such as the ability to identify health issues with crops early, drones can also alert potential environmental disasters by detecting the leaking of hazardous materials, while sensors can help assess air quality and pollution levels, enabling government bodies to alert citizens to health risks.
4. Live Project Management: Camera and sensor equipment on drones can be used to convey live images of a project, which allows managers to ensure design and schedule are adhered to, and quickly address problems with both.
5. Logistic Robots: The logistics industry includes a huge number and variety of processes, including: delivery, inventory, ordering, packing, picking, transportation and warehousing. The application of robots to one or more these processes can include robotic: palletising, packing and picking, which are monitored and reported using logistics software systems.
6. Public Safety & Emergency Response: The use of drones in emergency situations is well documented, and they are effectively being rolled out in supporting firefighting, search and rescue efforts to help assess a situation before first responders are deployed. The strides in improvements such as distance and camera resolution is helping overcome the limitations that have previously held drones back from being utilised more widely.
7. Survey & Mapping: Faster and cheaper than traditional surveying methods, drones and robots improve the ability to collect the visible data of (hazardous) sites. Their ability to detect changes in volumetrics and send data straight to the cloud for collaborative purposes, helps create one source of truth.
8. Warehouse Automation: The growing convenience and demand of online ordering has led to a massive increase in e-commerce. As distribution centres face this new level of operational complexity and increased labour scarcity, warehouse automation is becoming essential for the survival of that business. Thanks to innovations in vision, mapping and safety, robots are now able to “share the road” with humans and vehicles, navigate new routes, and dynamically respond to order changes. Warehouses are now utilising robots to improve safety, ease labour burdens, improve productivity, reduce errors, and lower operational costs in a variety of workflows.
As with any new technology, business decision makers need to understand both the positives and negatives of their investment in any asset acquisition program. Some of the benefits of using drones and robots include: reduced safety risks, improved efficiencies, increased accuracy, accelerated decision-making, reduction of maintenance costs and lower labour costs.
But there are also challenges that might impact a business decision to use drones and robots. These barriers may include: privacy issues, bandwidth availability and capacity, power source and physical environment constraints.
Business decision makers need to also consider whether they should own the technology assets and have their team operate and maintain the drones and robots, or alternatively out-source the operation of drones and robots and simply invest in the data products only.
Other challenges may include the relative costs of more sophisticated drones and robots, sensors and cameras, safety risks of potential crashes and resulting liabilities from injuries and property damage.
All of these considerations and those that are specific to your business, can be included in an AML consultation that will produce a tailored report for your specific business requirements.
Drones and robots should be strategically considered and researched for your business. To determine how drones and robots can become your logistics multiplier, some questions that business decision makers may need to ask, include:
1. How can drones and robots be used in our business to replace labour intensive (hazardous), time consuming or expensive tasks?
2. How can drones and robots fit with the other technology we are currently investing in now and in the future?
3. What are the potential cyber risks or data privacy issues associated with drones and robotic services?
4. What are the related legal, regulatory and economic risks of drones and robots?
5. What can we do with drones and robotic data to:
a) Help decision making,
b) Add value to our current or future customers,
c) Grow our business capacity or customer offerings.
In addition to the equipment lifecycle support that AML has provided for many years, AML is able to offer a tailored technology analysis report that informs business decision makers regarding the introduction and application of drones and robots to supplement their logistics technology operations.
Strategic decision makers that receive transparent, solution agnostic guidance about how drone and robot technology can impact their operations are able to make well informed decisions about the possible risks, costs and benefits to their business.
AML Advisory (AML) is an Australian consulting company that offers independent and solution agnostic advice for business technology improvements in commercial, government and military sectors.
Rather than pursuing a product sale, AML shares the client’s purpose to:
1. Pursue business technology improvements that add practical value for everyone involved,
2. Analyse market technology improvement and availability that will enable their business to compete in increasingly complex and competitive environments.
Your business technology transformation can begin using AML’s expertise and insight through an AML technology analysis report. This report informs the client of the considerations and options available when pursuing technology solutions that deliver benefits for their organisation.
The report will assist clients to develop a safe and cost-effective roadmap that uses drone and robot technology to assists their business to gain a competitive advantage and value creation.
AML’s technology service includes:
1. Improving our client’s business knowledge of their current value state and defining their future priority value state.
2. Assessing and recommending suitable state-of-the-art drone and robot technology assets for their industry that can achieve their desired future priority value state.
3. Pilot (trial) project design, planning and transition from pilot (trial) to core business operations.
4. Guidance and support for the procurement of drone and robot technology, suppliers and partners.
5. Guidance and support for the implementation of the drone and robot technology into your operations,
6. Establishing the whole of life sustainment arrangements that will support your investment,
7. Assessment of the lifecycle considerations that will ultimately guide your business for the duration of the technology adoption. Considerations for when to consider updates, upgrade or disposal of the technology.
Contact AML today to discuss your business interests in drones and robots.
For all the latest updates, please contact us via our website: www.amladvisory.com.au
AML will be at the World drones and robots Congress (WoDaRC) in Brisbane, 18-19 August, 2021. At the WoDaRC, AML has been invited to be a guest presenter on this exciting technology landscape. AML will also have a stand at the WoDaRC and invites all Congress attendees to come and say hello.