July 7, 2022

How to Utilize Cobots to the Fullest

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Cobots (collaborative robots) are great co-workers! They are predictable, consistent and efficient.

What’s even better is that they have a lot more to offer than we may initially realize. For example, while Cobots work they can gather cleaning data and insights about work processes. This information can help to optimize cleaning performance which in turn can positively impact how a business performs.

Cobots also support staff in a variety of ways and can even help management teams create a fun work environment.

Below is a list of things you will want to do when implementing cobots so you can fully optimize the work they do for your business.

Utilize All Features the Cobot Has to Offer

One of the most important things you can do is spend time upfront understanding all the features and benefits the cobot has to offer and how they can benefit your facility.

This will help you determine the best way to deploy or use the machine to get results like increased productivity and efficiency.

For example, Cobi 18, an autonomous floor scrubber by ICE Cobotics, is programmed to be able to map or clean in four different ways.

  • Custom Mode: This is when the user maps the route they wish the cobot to clean from start to finish. This can be especially useful in areas of a facility that have more objects or turns for the cobot to learn. By having a staff member map the entire route initially, you can eliminate potential for multiple assists when the cobot is cleaning autonomously.
  • Auto Fill Mode: This is when a user maps the perimeter of a space and the cobot completes the center mapping process on its own. This can be especially time saving if you have wide-open areas in your facility, as you will not need staff to spend time mapping the entire space.
  • Multiple Route Mode: This feature allows a user to select multiple saved routes for the cobot to clean. Once the routes are selected, the cobot is started and it cleans these routes back-to-back, resulting in more area cleaned with less attention by a staff member.
  • Schedule Start: This is a timed cleaning feature. The user schedules a time for the machine to start cleaning. This can be a great way for cleaning to happen after hours—fully maximizing the capabilities of the cobot.

Additionally, it is beneficial to know what types of parts and consumables the cobot uses to effectively complete the work.

Cobi 18 for example comes equipped with tool free parts—which is a huge time saver for employees. The solution and recovery tank are combined into one part, simplifying the filling and emptying process because there are not multiple tanks to take care of.

The squeegee and side brushes click on and off, the hopper and main brush slide in and out, and the extension mop also clicks on and off. No additional tools are necessary for removing or adding these pieces to the cobot.

Having a cobot that is simple to use, doesn’t require tools, and can be deployed in a variety of ways allows your team to stay focused on getting the work done and thus increases productivity.

Help Employees Understand the Benefits of a Cobot Co-Worker

Existing staff could be apprehensive about the idea of adding a cobot to the team, so it will be important to reiterate that cobots are there to support staff and to help them be more productive and efficient.

This will not only reassure them about their job, but it will also help them see that a cobot can make the job easier.

Here are the important benefits to reiterate to staff:

  • Cobots are collaborative: this means they are designed to work alongside people, not replace people. They take on repetitive yet important tasks that are often tedious and time-consuming so that staff can focus on other important work. Once your staff understands this they will more fully engage with and utilize the cobot.

  • Cobots are safe and easy to use: Cobots operate using highly sophisticated navigation software that gives them the ability to move safely around people and objects in real-world environments. This can help staff feel reassured about working with them.

Plus, the UI (user interface) on cobots was created to be intuitive and easy for anyone to use. This makes cobots easy for staff to work with and manage throughout the day. Having an easy to use and safe cobot as part of the team can help staff members realize the opportunity to complete tasks they might not otherwise get to, leading to a better sense of satisfaction.

  • Cobots help with productivity and efficiency: Cobots take on repetitive time-consuming tasks like scrubbing or vacuuming floors. Once a staff member deploys the cobot, they can focus on other high-priority tasks that require more detail and skill.

Having the cobot clean the floor increases productivity but also efficiency because cobots complete the work the same way each time, eliminating human error. Therefore, the routine task is more efficiently done. Staff will appreciate knowing they can expect the same result each time they run the machine.

  • Cobots free up staff to focus on customers: customers are key to the success of your business and most consumers want a seamless experience—especially in retail stores.

This includes getting the help they need when they need it. Bringing on cobots can help staff respond to customer requests and keep shelves stocked, leading to a better overall customer experience.

  • Cobots help staff learn new skills: Most workers look forward to learning something new and taking on responsibility as part of their career growth. Bringing on cobots gives you the opportunity to expand the capabilities of your existing staff.

By providing them with training and giving them the responsibility to operate and manage the cobot, your staff is learning new skills. This can help you retain staff by providing them with additional learning and training, which ultimately saves the company time and money.

Plus, most cobot manufacturers provide easy to access online training that anyone on staff can use—this gives staff an additional sense of independence while on the job—knowing they can access information and support when needed.

Explore Ways to Set Goals with Fleet Management Software

Due to the advanced technology used in cobotics as well as their being part of IoT (internet of things), cobots can track a lot of data and insights.

This information is invaluable to a business as is the ability to access information from remote locations. This opens all kinds of opportunities for business leaders to more carefully track resources and procedures.

Depending on the type of cobot, the information may be tracked through a fleet management software, like that of i-SYNERGY Clean Score, used in Cobi 18.

Clean Score allows the business owner or leader to set cleaning goals for each site they manage.

Within that is the ability to login and immediately see the floor cleaning progress at the site and to click in further to examine the progress of each machine.

This includes reviewing cleaning times, routes, users, and length of cleaning time.

Being able to review this information gives managers, directors, and owners the opportunity to check in with their teams and find out more about how cleaning processes work.

These conversations can lead to feedback regarding specific routes, or times of day cleaning occurs, to become more dialed into what the business requires. This can lead to an increased ROI.

Leverage Financing Options to Impact the Bottom Line

This step comes ahead of bringing the cobot on as a team member and requires some work on the front end.

Some manufacturers provide buying, leasing or subscription procurement options. While buying gives you ownership of the machine this can have some downsides.

Working with a manufacturer that specializes in subscription services on the other hand can mean access to a whole host of services that can help you better run your business.

Case in point, ICE Cobotics offers Cobi 18 through an all-inclusive subscription that includes service, parts, online training, access to i-SYNGERY and any software updates at no extra cost, as well as consumables.

The subscription is a hassle-free and low risk way to bring on automation. The service support alone can save your company time and money. If there is an issue, ICE Cobotics will troubleshoot the problem from a remote location and if they cannot solve the issue, they will send a technician to your location to fix the problem.

Service trips and replacing parts cost businesses hundreds of dollars a year and when you have multiple machines it can really add up. ICE Cobotics takes care of that for you—so your money can do more for your business.

While cobots are created to take on repetitive tasks and to relieve staff of this work, they can also help to address a whole range of other business needs. Whether augmenting labor shortages, taking on floor cleaning, freeing staff to focus on customers, or providing important data, there is a wide range of opportunities for utilizing your cobot to its fullest potential.

To find out more or get started with Cobi 18 today, contact our Account Managers. They are happy to help!

If you’d like to read further, we suggest: Cobots Vs. Robots (What You Need to Know)

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