And it makes me a very happy MD! Let me tell you about Agilon®…
It makes my head spin how quickly technology changes our industry. Everything is more digital, more sophisticated, more automated. Why does it feel like warehouses have stood still? Workers still go about the place like soldier ants scurrying to and from rows of stock, stacked high to the ceiling. Climbing ladders to grab the required stock. Too much inaccurate or out of date stock information. It makes stock control and ordering a headache.
And then I discovered a solution: the Agilon® Solution by Konecranes, I was sceptical when it claimed to solve all of my problems and more. But as you can probably tell by the title, it’s blown all my expectations out of the water.
So much so I had one installed permanently with another one on its way.
But, what is it?
The easiest way to explain Agilon® is to say it’s a giant vending machine for your warehouse. Though that doesn’t really do it justice. Rather than rows and rows of stock piled high, only accessible by ladder, Agilon® gives you access to a hatch and a touchscreen. If you need a part or a tool you just log in with your finger print, search for it with the touchscreen, and a few seconds later the item comes through the hatch straight to you.
To give you a better idea, here’s our warehouse with the installed system and one of our trained staff testing out the control panel and delivery hatch:
How does it help?
For me as an MD, it’s made my life a hell of a lot easier. Before, I had three major gripes:
Agilon® has eradicated all three of these problems.
Unreliability of Stock – No more inventory-taking! The thing continually monitors and updates stock so all information is accurate and up to date. And I can access it all wirelessly, 24/7 (I even called their bluff and stayed up late to check it was still online. It was).
Disorganisation – Behind that big metal wall is all of your stock. Aglion’s robotic arm finds what you need and brings it to you. Not only that, it tells you on screen how much stock is remaining and logs the withdrawal for monitoring.
Ordering – When stock is low, Agilon® can send orders automatically to suppliers. In other words the warehouse will always be properly stocked without anyone having to lift a finger. If robots do ever take over, they will have earned it.
Maybe I’m speaking too prematurely, but Agilon® feels like it might be a real glimpse into the future. Whether I’m right, only time will tell. But right now, I’m happy having to do a lot less to get a lot more efficiency out of my warehouse.
Martyn Cleaver, Managing Director at Forward Industrial Products Group Ltd.
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