Evaluating Usage of Automated Guided Vehicles with Respect to Warehouse Layout Changes: A Case Study at Haldex Brake Products
Abstract: Warehouse operations are considered a key aspect to the success of a supply chain. They are not only costly to the supply chain but they also affect the flow of material both upstream and downstream. Warehouse improvement measures play therefore a considerable role in decreasing cost and lead time by improving material flows. To increase the efficiency of material flows and aiming to reduce labor dedicated to traveling, automated material handling is seen as a key solution. In this regard, production warehouses especially, such as Haldex warehouse in Landskrona seek to invest in Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). In light of increased customer demand, Haldex is planning to upgrade its production capacity. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the usage of AGVs with respect to warehouse operations and layout changes. The objectives span from understanding how the layout changes affect material flows, to the evaluation of which flows should be covered by AGVs and finally determining the number of AGVs needed to support the flows. The research is carried out at the selected case company, Haldex Brakes. The research has shown that as warehouse layout changes, so will the material flows. The increase in customer demand, without adding new storage locations also means that the existing material flows to and from manufacturing processes will become more frequent. The changes in flows were evaluated for AGV suitability based on a set of criteria: suitable storage equipment, distance of the flow, and the level of congestion risk. Based on the criteria, two scenarios were presented. The first scenario is the implementation of three flows which met most the criteria. The second scenario is suggesting flows that can be implemented, following minor changes in the future layout. The number of AGVs needed at Haldex was determined with respect to both scenarios. To further improve the quality of this research and to develop the topic of automated material flows, it is suggested to perform simulations of the results and how the implementation of AGVs should be carried out. Due to limitations of time and resources, these aspects are not considered in this study.
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