The world of industrial mobile robotics, including Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), is booming with innovation. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that not all projects in this field succeed. In fact, the percentage of unsuccessful projects can range anywhere from 10% to 30%. While the exact figure may be debated, it’s safe to say that the reality leans closer to the 30% mark. In this article, we’ll explore what defines project failure and delve into the primary reasons behind it. More importantly, we’ll provide insights on how to prevent these common pitfalls and ensure the success of your mobile robotics projects.
Before we dive into the reasons behind project failure, let’s clarify what constitutes a successful or failed project in the world of industrial mobile robotics. A project is considered failed when it either doesn’t function as intended or, even if it does initially, the mobile robotics solution is abandoned within the first few months.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the main culprits contributing to project failure and explore strategies to steer clear of these pitfalls.
Lack of user engagement
One significant factor leading to project failure is user reluctance or resistance. Users may not fully support the project for various reasons. To mitigate this issue, two critical aspects should be addressed:
- Information: It’s essential to communicate to users why the project is being undertaken and the benefits it will bring. Clear, transparent communication can alleviate concerns and build support.
- Training: Users must understand how the mobile robotics solution works and how to use it effectively. Providing comprehensive training ensures a smooth transition and minimizes resistance.
Inadequate solution design
A common misconception is that automating a logistics or production process is as straightforward as replacing a manual machine with an AGV or AMR. This assumption leads to failure. Automation necessitates changes in existing processes. To avoid this pitfall:
- Consider hiring a consultant: Consultants with expertise in mobile robotics can help you design a solution that aligns with your specific needs and ensures a seamless integration.
Underestimating the IT component
Efficient mobile robotics operation relies heavily on the integration of information technology (IT). In many cases, order generation occurs through a separate computer system, such as an ERP or WMS. This system must interface effectively with the Fleet Manager of the Mobile Robots. To address this challenge:
- Define software, hardware, and interfaces early: It’s imperative to define the software, hardware, and necessary interfaces before launching the project to prevent communication breakdowns and ensure a cohesive IT infrastructure.
In conclusion, industrial mobile robotics projects can be immensely beneficial, but they are not without their challenges. Success hinges on the alignment of user support, effective solution design, and a well-defined IT component. By informing and training users, seeking professional guidance when needed, and prioritizing IT integration, you can significantly increase the chances of your project’s success. Remember, when it comes to industrial mobile robotics, preparation and collaboration are key to achieving your desired outcomes.