With an investment in three automated guided vehicles (AGVs), the construction goods wholesaler, Brødrene A&O Johansen A/S in Albertslund (Denmark), have experienced an impressive optimisation of their internal logistics and daily manual handling of 800 pallets using trucks or pallet lifts. The automation of the simple transportation of pallets means that employees can allocate resources to other more value-adding tasks.
As the employees no longer have to spend their time on basic pallet handling, the Danish-owned company has achieved savings and improved the work environment and production flow for their 130+ logistics employees in the warehouse. One AGV picks up and brings pallet cargo from the miniloader in the returns department and on to the warehouse, while the other two AGVs help in the high-rise warehouse, where they pick up and take goods between different collection points on the ground level, saving the manned forklift trucks the long journeys.
“As we handle an average of 800 pallets per day, we needed to optimise our pallet flow at ground level, and the new AGVs have already been a huge help. The two AGVs that operate in the high-rise warehouse get through around 40 pallets per hour, and with a shift of 16 hours per day, we have had the opportunity to allocate resources to other tasks. In the returns department, the final AGV works side by side with the man we have down there, and it really helps with his workflow,” explains Christian Bødker Forsberg, Logistics Director at Brødrene A&O Johansen A/S.
What used to be a gruelling and time-consuming task for their employees has now been solved in collaboration with the new Global AGVs from BILA A/S. The AGVs already handle 60–80% of all their simple A to B pallet transports, which has proven to be a big win for the company and their employees. It was also important for Bødker Forsberg that the employees welcomed the new working capacity, without feeling replaced by the technology of the future:
“For me, it’s important that my employees are happy to come to work, and now they are no longer having to move pallets around from A to B themselves, there’s clearly renewed job satisfaction. They have really taken to the new AGVs and have embraced the new automatic solutions since day one.”
By automating their pallet conveying system, Brødrene A&O Johansen have achieved an extra and unexpected gain. Global AGVs have made their employees more aware of the overall internal traffic to and from the different departments. Bødker Forsberg comments on how:
“The AGVs have contributed to a greater focus on safety than we had expected. Besides the fact that the product is safe in itself, internal driving has improved overall. Our team are now safer both when they move around and when they’re operating the machines, as they pay more attention to the traffic around the workplace.”
With the support of the employees, whose workflow has gotten lighter, Brødrene A&O Johansen A/S, who already have 50 stores in Denmark, five in Sweden plus one in Estonia, can see the future for further investments in Global AGVs:
I have always said that automation is the way forward, and that is why we’ve chosen to automate our pallet handling. It’s no secret that we’re already looking into the possibility of investing in more Global AGVs.”
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