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11 March 2024

How to successfully implement AGV in your Factory? - A Comprehensive Educational Guide


Implementing Automated Transport Vans (AGVs) is not just a matter of technology, but more importantly of strategic planning, understanding your needs and capabilities. Before you decide to take this step, it is important to answer a number of key questions that will help you assess whether your factory is ready for such an innovation.

1 Wanting doesn't mean being able - is your factory ready?

The decision to implement Automated Transport Vans (AGVs) is often seen as a breakthrough in operational efficiency and automation of logistics processes in the factory. However, despite the numerous benefits, not every organization is ready for this type of change. A factory's readiness to implement AGV depends on a number of factors that go beyond financial capacity alone. Considering the following aspects will help you assess whether your factory is ready for this innovation:

Infrastructure and Layout

The first step in assessing readiness is to analyze your factory's physical infrastructure. AGVs require certain conditions to function efficiently. Things to consider include:

Workspace: AGVs need adequate space to maneuver. Cramped aisles, crowded alleys, or constantly changing environments can hinder their operation.
Floor condition: The floor on which AGVs move should be smooth and level. Unevenness, thresholds or other obstacles can be problematic for many AGV systems.
Signage and accessibility: A well-planned layout, including road markings for AGVs, makes it much easier for them to integrate and safely coexist with people and other vehicles.

Operational processes

The key to the effective use of AGVs is their integration into existing operational processes. Automated trucks perform best when introduced into a well-organized, predictable environment:

Standardization and predictability: AGVs are most effective when logistics processes are standardized and repeatable. Variability and unpredictability can challenge AGV route and task planning.
Integration with IT systems: AGV deployment often requires integration with existing production management, warehouse management systems (WMS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Readiness for this integration is key to realizing the full benefits of automation.

Team commitment

The success of an AGV implementation also depends on people - their openness to change, willingness to learn and adapt.

Staff preparation: Educating and engaging employees is key to a smooth AGV implementation. Their understanding of the benefits of automation and training in how to use and work with AGVs are essential.
Communication and collaboration: Open communication between management, the IT team, operations staff and EHS is fundamental. This cooperation helps to identify potential problems and to effectively implement new solutions.

In summary, factory readiness for AGV deployment is a complex issue, requiring a holistic approach to assess both physical infrastructure, operational processes and team readiness. Before you decide to invest in AGVs, make sure your factory is adequately prepared for these changes. Only then can you maximize the potential that logistics automation brings.


2 Why do you want to implement AGVs?

A key element in the success of any technology project is understanding the motivation behind its implementation. In the case of AGV, answering this question helps not only to define the goals of the project, but also to plan its course to maximize its response to your factory's needs.

Identifying business needs

First and foremost, it's important to identify the main factors that have led you to consider implementing AGVs in your operation. Is it:

The need to increase operational efficiency: Is your factory struggling with material handling challenges that can be offset by automation?

Labor shortage: Has a shortage of operational workers led you to look for automation solutions that can replace or support human labor?

Safety improvements: Have there been workplace accidents at your factory that could be avoided by using AGVs, minimizing interaction between machines and workers?

Optimizing material flow: Are you looking for ways to streamline internal logistics, reduce downtime or improve warehouse management?

Innovation and competitiveness: Are you looking to strengthen your factory's position in the market by implementing modern technologies?

Analyze the impact on the organization

Once you've identified the main reasons, it's also worth analyzing how the implementation of AGV will affect various aspects of your factory's operations:

Changes in operational processes: How will automation affect current work processes? Will modifications to existing procedures be required?

Impact on employees: How will employees react to the introduction of AGV? Are you prepared to provide training and support during the period of adaptation to the new technology?

Costs and ROI: How does your analysis of the costs of AGV implementation compare to the anticipated benefits? Have you developed a realistic ROI plan?

The answers to these questions are crucial not only to justify the decision to implement an AGV, but also to plan an implementation strategy that will effectively serve your business goals.


3. Implementing AGVs successfully involves many factors - key questions at the start

The successful implementation of Automated Transport Vehicles (AGVs) in a factory depends on a number of factors. Before deciding to implement this technology, it is crucial to ask yourself and your team a series of fundamental questions. The answers to these will help you understand the goals, opportunities and challenges of AGV implementation. Here are the most important of these:

Who wants to implement AGVs and why?

Understanding the motivation behind AGV deployment is crucial to the success of the overall project. Is the decision to deploy driven by market needs, a labor shortage, or is it an initiative to improve safety or operational efficiency? Defining the "why" will help establish project goals and priorities.

What are the main goals of AGV deployment?

The goals of AGV deployment can vary from organization to organization. Is it to increase production throughput, reduce operating costs, or perhaps to improve work ergonomics and reduce the risk of accidents? Identifying specific goals at the outset will make it easier to design an AGV system and evaluate its effectiveness after implementation.

What processes are to be automated?

Deciding on specific processes to automate is crucial. It is recommended to start with simple, well-defined and repetitive tasks that can be easily automated. Such a strategy will allow you to gradually introduce changes and familiarize your staff with new technologies.

What are the expectations of the AGV system?

Expectations for an AGV system should be realistic and based on a thorough analysis of the factory's needs. It is important to understand what functionality is critical to your operations, such as the type of navigation, the ability to transport specific loads, or integration with existing WMS/ERP systems.

What challenges might arise during implementation?

Any technology implementation brings with it certain risks and challenges. These can include employee resistance, technical challenges in integrating systems, or even infrastructure limitations of the factory. Identifying potential obstacles at an early stage will allow you to be better prepared and minimize the risk of failure.

Asking yourself these and other key questions at the outset will help you determine whether your organization is ready for AGV implementation and how best to approach the process. A holistic approach is key here, taking into account not only technology and processes, but also people and organizational culture.

4. Preparation for talks with suppliers

For a successful AGV deployment, it is crucial to prepare thoroughly for discussions with potential suppliers of these systems. Here's how you can do that:

Gather all the necessary data

Before starting discussions with suppliers, it is important to gather and prepare all the necessary information about the processes you plan to automate:

Layout: accurate schematics and drawings of the factory, including marked routes to be followed by AGVs. This data will help suppliers understand the specifics of the workspace and design the most efficient navigation system.

Cargo information: Detailed information on the types and dimensions of loads to be transported, including maximum loads, gripping requirements or load stability. This is key data that will help select the right types of AGVs.

Distinction between raw material and finished product transportation: Distinguishing between raw material and finished product transportation will allow you to better understand different logistics requirements and plan the optimal AGV deployment path for each area.

Develop a list of questions and expectations

Preparing a list of questions and expectations is as important as gathering data. This will allow you to:

Understand the capabilities offered by different vendors.

Verify that the solutions offered can be tailored to the specific needs of your factory.

Evaluate the extent of technical and service support once the AGV system is implemented.

Schedule factory visits

Scheduling visits of potential suppliers to your factory is another key element of preparation. Such a visit will allow suppliers to:

See directly the specifics of your operation and any challenges associated with AGV implementation.

Better understand your expectations and tailor their offerings to real needs.

Conduct a preliminary analysis and possibly suggest necessary infrastructure or process adaptations.

Remember, any self-respecting supplier should be ready for such a visit, and two-way communication and openness to questions and suggestions are key to finding the best partner to work with on an AGV deployment.


5. Site visit and analysis with suppliers

A site visit and direct interaction with potential AGV suppliers at your factory are key steps in the implementation process. This allows you to gain a thorough understanding of the needs, opportunities and potential challenges you may face during the implementation of an AGV system. Here's how to make the most of this time:

Organization of a site visit

Inviting suppliers to the factory allows them to see exactly where AGVs are to be deployed. During the site visit, suppliers can:

Evaluate the space: Analyze the work space, including width of aisles, condition of floors, and identify potential obstacles to AGVs.

Analyze material flow: Understand how materials are currently transported in the factory and how the process can be improved using AGVs.

Recognize bottlenecks: Identify areas that may require special solutions or adjustments to allow AGVs to operate efficiently.

Cooperation with suppliers

A site visit is also a great opportunity to work directly with suppliers to tailor their offerings to your specific needs. You can:

Discuss operational specifics: Providing suppliers with detailed information about the factory operations you want to automate will help them better understand your requirements and suggest the most appropriate solutions.

Consider different technology options: Discussions can focus on the various AGV navigation technologies available, their advantages and limitations, and how they can be integrated into existing factory systems.

Determine safety requirements: Safety is a key aspect of any AGV system. The visit provides an opportunity to discuss with suppliers how to ensure the safety of workers and the infrastructure itself.

Post-visit analysis

After the site visit, it is important to conduct a thorough analysis of the information gathered with suppliers. The goal is to develop a final implementation plan that takes into account all relevant aspects, from technology to security requirements and integration with other systems.

A site visit and analysis with suppliers is not only a chance to work out technical details, but also to build a relationship with the supplier, which is the foundation for successful implementation and future cooperation.


6. Supplier and solution selection

Choosing the right AGV vendor and solution is a critical step in the implementation process that determines the future efficiency and reliability of the system. Here's how to approach this task to maximize the benefits of your automation investment:

Setting selection criteria

Defining clear selection criteria is the first step to finding the best supplier. These should include:

Technological compatibility: How well the proposed solution integrates with existing operating and IT systems in the factory.

Experience and references: The supplier's history of success in implementing AGVs in similar operational environments.

Support and service: Availability of service and technical support, especially locally, which can be key to quickly resolving problems and maintaining continuity of operations.

Flexibility and scalability: The ability to adapt the system to changing needs and scale as the company grows.

Total cost of ownership (TCO): Not only the purchase price, but also the cost of integration, operation, maintenance and potential future expansions.

Talks with suppliers

Based on the established criteria, conduct in-depth interviews with the selected suppliers to assess how their offerings meet your factory's needs. This is also the time to ask any questions you may have about technical specifications, the implementation process and expected results.

Site visit with suppliers

If possible, arrange for follow-up supplier visits to your factory. Such "on-the-ground" meetings allow you to further assess how suppliers plan to tailor their solutions to your specific operations.

Bid analysis

Once you have gathered all the information, carefully analyze the bids in terms of the previously established criteria. It is important to consider not only the price, but most importantly the value each solution brings to your factory.


Choosing a supplier is not just a matter of figures, but also of trust in technical capabilities and post-implementation support. Trust in the supplier, its openness to cooperation and customization are as important as the technical aspects of the offer.

Selecting the right AGV supplier and solution is the foundation for successful automation of your factory processes. A careful selection process will ensure that your investment delivers the expected benefits, increasing the efficiency, safety and competitiveness of your operations.


7 Implementation and training: Prepare for challenges

The implementation and training phase is a key stage in the process of implementing an AGV system in a factory. This is the moment when plans and theories turn into concrete actions, and the entire organization must demonstrate readiness for change. Approaching this process with the appropriate care and realism is essential for success.

Implementation: a challenging stage

AGV implementation often comes with challenges that can delay or hinder the process:

Infrastructure adaptation: Even the best-prepared factory may require additional infrastructure modifications to fully accommodate AGVs.

Systems integration: Connecting an AGV to a factory's existing IT systems, such as WMS (Warehouse Management System) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), may require more time and resources than initially anticipated.

Testing and Optimization: The testing phase is integral to making sure the AGV system works as expected. It requires time to run tests, identify problems and make necessary adjustments.

Training: Key to success

Staff training is as important as the technology implementation itself. Not only do employees need to learn how to operate the new system, but they also need to understand what their jobs will look like after AGV implementation:

Embracing all the changes: Training should cover not only the operation of the AGV itself, but also changes in work procedures, safety rules and communication methods.

Involvement at all levels: Training should target employees at all levels of the organization, from operators to managers, so that everyone can understand their role in the new work environment.

Long-term support: After initial training, it is important to provide ongoing support and opportunities for further skill development so that employees can effectively use the AGV system on a daily basis.

Set for success

A realistic approach to the challenges of AGV implementation is key. It is important to be prepared for the fact that the process may be more complicated and time-consuming than anticipated at the outset. A mindset of continuous learning, adaptation and collaboration across departments and with AGV suppliers is the foundation for a successful implementation.

Remember, the success of an AGV implementation doesn't end the day the system goes live. It is an ongoing process of adjustments, optimization and training that requires commitment, patience and openness to change.

AGV implementation is a significant step toward increasing efficiency and safety in the factory. Approaching the process with due diligence and preparation is key to long-term success.


Summary: How to successfully implement AGV in your factory - a step-by-step guide

Implementing Automated Transport Vans (AGVs) is a comprehensive process that can make a significant contribution to your factory's operational efficiency. Here is a condensed step-by-step guide to help you successfully complete this project:

Factory Readiness Assessment:

Conduct a thorough analysis of whether your factory is ready for AGV deployment, taking into account infrastructure, processes and team involvement.

Understand needs and goals:

Determine why you want to implement AGVs and what goals you want to achieve with it. This will help you choose the right type of AGV and vendor.

Selecting a process to automate:

Identify the processes that are best suited for automation. Start with simple, well-defined tasks to make it easier for you and your team to adapt.

Preparing for supplier interviews:

Gather all necessary data and prepare for discussions with AGV suppliers so they can best understand your needs.

Site visit and analysis with suppliers:

Schedule supplier visits to your factory. This is crucial to accurately understand your needs and customize your offerings.

Supplier and solution selection:

Based on the information and analysis gathered, make an informed choice of the supplier that best meets your factory's needs.

Implementation and training:

Be prepared for the challenges. AGV implementation is a process that requires time, adjustments and ongoing training for your team.

Key findings:
Realistic expectations: AGV implementation is a marathon, not a sprint. Be prepared that the process may take more time and resources than anticipated.

Team commitment: Successful implementation depends on the support and commitment of the entire team. Education and openness to change are key here.

Vendor selection: Don't just go by price. Experience, references and quality of post-implementation support are more important.

Flexibility and scalability: Choose solutions that you can grow and adapt to the changing needs of your factory.

Safety first: Make sure your AGV deployment does not jeopardize the safety of your employees and infrastructure.

Remember that AGV deployment is not just a matter of technology, but more importantly of people and processes. Success lies in proper preparation, a realistic approach to the challenges, and an ongoing commitment to adaptation and optimization.

I hope this article has provided valuable guidance and inspiration for starting or optimizing your AGV implementation initiatives. If you have any questions, concerns or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact the experts in the field.
Thank you for your time and I wish you success in your automation projects!

Artur Myziak CEO of Myzer Group

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