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04 March 2024

Why aren't factories today ready to implement AGVs?


In recent years, with a growing emphasis on automation and efficiency, the manufacturing industry has increasingly turned to advanced technologies such as Automated Transport Vehicles (AGVs). These mobile robots, capable of navigating the factory on their own, promise to significantly increase productivity, improve workplace safety and optimize material flow. However, despite these attractive promises, many companies face a surprising reality - their factories are not ready for effective AGV deployment.
The gap between expectations and reality often stems from a lack of in-depth analysis and preparation. Despite the clear benefits that AGVs can bring, their implementation requires more than just buying and running robots. Key factors such as appropriate infrastructure, integration with existing systems, and even organizational culture and employee readiness to adapt can determine the success or failure of the entire venture.
The factors motivating companies to invest in AGVs are understandable and valid. In an era where speed and flexibility in production are becoming key determinants of success, AGVs offer a solution that seems to fit these needs perfectly. However, neglecting the preparation stage, ignoring the need to adjust the workspace, or failing to provide training for personnel, quickly derail these benefits, leading to frustration and unrealized expectations.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at why so many factories are not ready to implement AGVs, what challenges stand in the way of their effective use, and most importantly, how these barriers can be overcome. We will also examine how proper planning, systems integration, and team engagement and training can turn these challenges into opportunities, paving the way for innovation and growth.

Realities of Today's Factories

Diagnosis of the Current State

In the face of increasing automation and the constant drive to optimize manufacturing processes, Automated Transport Vehicles (AGVs) appear to be a key tool for forward-looking factories. However, the realities of current manufacturing plants often blur the promising picture of seamless integration of AGVs into the existing ecosystem. Outdated infrastructure, entrenched procedures and limited operational space are the first off-the-beaten-path obstacles facing companies interested in implementing these solutions.

Lack of Adequate Planning

An essential element that determines the success or failure of AGV implementation is in-depth spatial and logistical planning. Unfortunately, in many factories, where the decision to adapt AGVs is made impulsively, there is a lack of strategic vision for the adaptation of workspaces and transport routes. This inadequate preparation of the area for the free movement of AGVs, failing to take into account the specific technological requirements of these systems, leads to a number of complications, limiting their effectiveness and, consequently, ROI on investment.

Inadequacy of Infrastructure

This challenge is compounded by factory infrastructure that was not designed with subsequent automation in mind. Existing pathways, which are often too narrow or congested, need to be significantly reorganized or expanded to allow for the collision-free flow of AGVs. In addition, integrating AGVs with WMS (Warehouse Management System) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems often reveals gaps in technological compatibility, adding another layer of complexity to an already complicated implementation process.

The Need for a Holistic Approach

In the face of these challenges, taking a holistic approach to factory modernization becomes a key aspect. This means not only technically adapting infrastructure for new technologies, but also engaging and educating staff, managing change in organizational culture, and strategically planning future developments. Successful AGV implementation depends on a multidimensional analysis of needs, opportunities and constraints, with parallel design of solutions tailored to the specific conditions of a given factory.

Main Challenges

Improper Land Use Planning

One of the fundamental challenges that factories face in implementing AGVs is inadequate space planning. Adapting workspaces to meet the needs of modern transportation systems requires not only a thoughtful spatial configuration, but also the flexibility to adapt to changing operational requirements. Lack of this flexibility can lead to situations where AGVs are constrained by inefficient transport paths, hindering the smoothness of logistics processes and increasing the risk of production bottlenecks.

Lack of Standardization

The variety of solutions offered by AGV manufacturers can be both an asset and a challenge. Lack of standardization in terms of communication interfaces, protocols and technical requirements makes it difficult to integrate new equipment into a factory's existing ecosystem. This challenge is exacerbated when factories try to combine AGV/AMR systems from different vendors, which can lead to interoperability and operational efficiency issues.

Technology mismatch

Choosing the right navigation technology for AGVs is crucial to their effective operation. The technology must be tailored to the specific conditions of the factory, taking into account factors such as the type of ground, fixed and dynamic obstacles, and lighting conditions. A mismatch in technology can result in problems with the accuracy of AGV localization, which directly affects the efficiency of the entire transportation system.

Insufficient Integration with Existing Systems

Integration of AGVs with key factory IT systems, such as WMS and ERP, is essential to ensure the continuity and automation of production processes. Insufficient integration can lead to isolation of the AGV from the rest of the operation, hindering automated data exchange and limiting the potential benefits of automation.

Overlooking the Human Factor

AGV implementation is not just about technology; the human factor is equally important. Resistance among employees, lack of understanding of new processes, and inadequate training can sabotage even the most advanced implementations. It is therefore crucial to build a culture that is open to change, train teams and ensure that staff are properly prepared to work with new systems.

Each of these challenges requires a thoughtful strategy and holistic approach to the implementation process. As a next step, we will examine the "Consequences of Skipping the Preparation Stage" to further emphasize the importance of proper planning and integration in the context of AGVs.

Consequences of Skipping the Preparatory Stage

Implementing Automated Transport Vehicles (AGVs) in factories is a process that requires not only financial investment, but also careful preparation and planning. Skipping the preparation stage can lead to a number of negative consequences that will significantly affect operational efficiency, costs and overall satisfaction with the implementation. Here are some of the key consequences:

Increased Operational and Investment Costs: Lack of adequate preparation often leads to the need for subsequent modifications to infrastructure and systems, which can significantly increase the overall cost of an AGV implementation. Additional costs can result from delays in the implementation schedule, the need to train personnel or adjust operational processes.

Low AGV System Effectiveness and Efficiency: Skipping the preparation stage can lead to a mismatch between the selected AGV solutions and the specific needs and conditions of the factory. This in turn can result in low system effectiveness and efficiency, limiting its ability to improve material flow and reduce production cycle times.

Systems Integration Issues: A key aspect of implementing AGVs is their integration with existing production and warehouse management systems. Lack of pre-planning and analysis can result in integration difficulties, leading to isolation of the AGV system from the rest of the operation, making it difficult to automate and optimize processes.

Organizational Resistance and Acceptance Problems: Inadequate preparation and communication with staff can create resistance to AGV implementation. Lack of employee engagement and misunderstanding of the benefits of automation can limit the effectiveness of the implementation and negatively impact organizational culture.

Security Threats: Without proper planning, training and safeguards, AGV deployment can create new safety risks for employees and infrastructure. Ensuring the safe integration of AGVs into factory operations is critical to protecting the health and lives of personnel and safeguarding property.

Preparing a factory for AGV implementation is a multi-step process, requiring detailed planning and involvement of all stakeholders. This approach not only increases the chances of implementation success, but also maximizes the benefits of automating material handling.

Building Authority in the Context of AGV Deployments

Implementing AGV systems is not only a technical challenge, but also a process that requires solid knowledge and experience. Therefore, it is crucial that those responsible for these projects actively work to build their authority in the field. Here are some ways this can be achieved:

1. Continuing Education and Development: Knowledge of the latest trends, technologies and solutions in automation and robotics is essential. Attending industry training courses, conferences and webinars not only helps you stay up-to-date, but also helps you network with experts and technology providers.

2. Collaboration with Research and Academic Institutions: Cooperation with universities and research institutes can bring new perspectives and access to the latest automation research. It's also a great way to participate in research projects that can directly contribute to the success of AGV deployments.

3. Publications and Presentations: Sharing knowledge and experience through industry publications, blogs or presentations at conferences builds an expert's visibility and is a validation of his or her competence. It is also a great opportunity to present successful case studies and best practices.

4. Networking and Relationship Building: Active participation in industry discussion groups, associations, and professional networks enables you to share experiences, gain new contacts, and build relationships that can prove crucial to your projects.

5 Internal Training and Workshops: Organizing internal trainings and workshops for project and operational teams not only improves their competence, but also strengthens the project leader's position as an expert and mentor.

Building authority in the context of AGV implementations allows for more effective project implementation, strengthens trust among teams and business partners, and contributes to better understanding and acceptance of change within the organization.


In summary, the deployment of Automated Transport Vans (AGVs) in factories represents a significant step toward increasing the efficiency, safety and scalability of manufacturing processes. However, as our discussion indicates, the success of this endeavor depends on a number of factors - from careful planning and preparation of infrastructure, to the selection of appropriate technologies and suppliers, to the commitment and training of personnel.

Key findings:

- Careful analysis and preparation are the cornerstones of a successful AGV implementation.
- Choosing the right vendor and technology has a direct impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of the system.
- Integrating AGVs with existing IT systems and engaging the team are essential for operational fluidity and maximizing benefits.
- Building internal authority in automation and robotics contributes to better change management and acceptance of new technologies among  employees.

We encourage all decision makers and project leaders to take strategic steps to explore the potential of AGVs for their operations. Start with a thorough diagnosis of your factories' needs, consult with experts and suppliers, and then, with a properly prepared plan, proceed with implementation activities.
Remember that any investment in modern technologies such as AGVs is not only a challenge, but more importantly an opportunity to grow and gain a competitive edge in the rapidly changing world of manufacturing.

I hope this article has provided valuable tips and inspiration for starting or optimizing your AGV deployment initiatives. If you have any questions, concerns or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact the experts in this 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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