The North American 3PL, Kenco Logistics, will be the first to roll-out Phantom Auto’s remotely operated forklifts as a service to its customers. Kenco will first deploy the technology in a pilot program within the Kenco Innovation Labs, enabling Kenco’s supply chain solutions experts to identify how its customers can increase labour accessibility, help maximise workforce impact, deliver improved workplace safety and generate greater cost savings.
A leader in remote operation of all types of vehicles, Phantom’s interoperable software enables forklifts, tuggers, robots, trucks, and more to be remotely operated by trained operators sitting up to thousands of miles away. Leveraging real-time video and audio input, material handling equipment (MHE) can be safely and skilfully operated by off-site operators. The enhanced visibility offered by the solution can reduce the rate of workplace safety incidents, improving overall warehouse safety while decreasing workers’ compensation premiums.
Kenco’s Innovation Labs provide a real-world warehouse setting for innovation experts to research and test emerging technologies on behalf of Kenco customers. Averaging 20 new projects a year, the Labs identified more than US$5 million in savings for customers in 2020. The 10,000ft2 facility allows Kenco to test Phantom Auto’s solutions in a variety of environments, ensuring optimal performance and fit with Kenco’s operations when the solution is deployed in the field.
“The Kenco Innovation Labs are our proving ground for new technologies,” said Kristi Montgomery, Vice President of innovation and research and development at Kenco Logistics. “Phantom Auto’s remotely operated forklift solution presents an exciting opportunity to transform not only how we and our customers think about the warehouse workforce, but also help expedite the investment into new technologies given recent equipment shortages.”
Around 60% of warehouse operators name labour recruitment and productivity as a top challenge, indicating a severe labour shortage throughout the industry. For companies struggling to meet their labour needs, Phantom Auto’s solution removes geographic restrictions to hiring. Phantom’s customers can hire people anywhere – including rural areas with limited employment opportunities – not just people that live within commuting distance of warehouses. For further cost-savings, companies can utilise the software to share labour, allowing remote MHE operators to work in multiple warehouses within a single day. Phantom Auto also empowers organisations to add greater diversity to their workforce, employing individuals with mobility issues who might otherwise not be considered for driving positions. Remote MHE vehicle operation is also proving to be an attractive career path for digital natives and younger generations.
“Remote operation increases the productivity, flexibility, safety, and health of every companies’ most important resource: people,” said Elliot Katz, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer. “This human-centric technology will provide Kenco’s customers greater access to forklift operators, while simultaneously increasing the efficiency and productivity of said operators.”