The logistics world has many specialist terms; from AGVs to AMRs, UPCs to RFIDs, do we really need any more?
The ever-expanding list has just received a new entry, MHaaS. The newest development in logistics, known as "Material Handling as a Service," is poised to revolutionise the way that warehouses operate. For this reason, we believe that there most definitely room on this list for such a game-changer. Let us explain…
You may have heard the term SaaS, or Software as a Service, which simply refers to software created by a company that they own and maintain. Customers typically access the software via a monthly subscription arrangement. The customer does not have to worry about the installation and maintenance of software or making a large initial investment; it is simply there and ready to use with minimal configuration.
Software as a Service examples include Gmail and Salesforce, where the technology company manages the functionality while the customer subscribes to the service. For customers, it’s convenient as all they need to do is ‘plug in’.
The term ‘as a service’ is now extending beyond the realm of software. Anything that can be outsourced to provide a service to customers qualifies. The customer can reap the benefits without incurring excessive risk.
AdVentura Works is a world pioneer in Material Handling as a Service. We are assisting warehouses in lightening their load by retrofitting existing forklift trucks with sensors and cameras to become smart remotely controlled machines. Qualified remote drivers are then available to move warehouse materials in a safe and efficient manner, all without ever entering the client's warehouse.
When it comes to ‘Material Handling as a Service’, the core offering is no different to Software as a Service; customers subscribe for the convenience of material handling as and when they need it. They don’t have to worry about recruiting forklift drivers, shift patterns or mounting salary expectations. ‘As a service’, in whatever form can help to relieve some of the everyday burdens that come with certain tasks.
Why should warehouses consider remote services?
It is a well-known fact that the material handling industry is also undergoing a severe shortage in skilled drivers. Before Brexit, EU nationals made up 34% of the forklift driver workforce. Compounded by the UK leaving the EU and Covid, many have returned back to their own countries leading to even bigger shortages.
This problem however, is not limited to the UK, there are significant driver shortages across Europe and North America too.
These challenges have had a significant impact on both productivity and costs, leaving many businesses struggling to remain competitive. One way they can mitigate these effects is to use remote services to reduce their long-term costs and responsibilities.
Remote services which use automation and teleoperation are already being tested through the use of semi-automated delivery trucks to alleviate the shortage of HGV drivers. Similar innovations are also being trialed, using drones to deliver packages and Uber trailing autonomous delivery vehicles.
Material Handling as a Service can play a big part in helping to relieve pressure on skills shortages and mounting costs faced within supply chains.
Warehouses and factories need to start embracing ‘as a service’ to start seeing improvements to the bottom line.
We don't know what other challenges supply chains will face in the future, but the ability to remain resilient in the face of setbacks will help businesses in supply chains survive and thrive.