Almost four decades in the automation business have made Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe Oy (MLE Oy) a coveted intralogistics solution provider for the paper industry. Composed of experienced and customer-oriented experts, MLE Oy designs and manufactures Rocla Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) in Järvenpää, Finland. As the world economy becomes more unpredictable, trust is a crucial success factor.
It takes years to build customer trust, but it is worth the wait, because the customer experience is everything. Customer references speak volumes and offer peer experience to potential new customers. Although the paper industry faces many universal challenges, manufacturing and warehousing processes may still differ from each other.
Jarkko Uusitalo, Sales Manager of MLE Oy, says: “It is important to listen carefully to every customer and take their needs into consideration before the automation process begins. Although we have carried out dozens of similar projects, we always aim for the best possible solution for each customer.”
Jarkko Uusitalo speaks with the voice of experience. First-hand experience in the paper industry and 25 years at Rocla AGV Solutions guarantee his words carry weight. “We strive to be worthy of our customers’ trust. Our customers’ success is our success,” Uusitalo stresses.
The First Steps Towards Automation
It is crucial to have a smooth manufacturing and warehousing process. Automation offers the company a good opportunity to improve the overall effectiveness of their warehouse operations. First, automation begins with the assessment of the existing processes and intralogistics needs. Then, as production becomes customer-driven, old warehousing processes need to be replaced with new ones. Warehouse strategy is typically defined by the retrieval of goods from the warehouse.
“Every move creates a cost. Therefore, in addition to tonnages, we are interested in the number of moves. When products are picked and moved right on time, the warehouse turnover speed improves. In an automated warehouse, every paper reel has its own place, and the follow-up is easy. In addition, AGVs handle large paper reels with the utmost care, minimizing losses,” says Uusitalo.
The key to a successful project is having all process owners committed to the project. The purpose of conversations and process evaluations is to define which parts of the warehousing operations are suitable for automation. Hence, true expertise includes honesty.
“Sometimes it may come as a surprise that not all processes are suitable for automation. Investments must pay themselves back quite quickly, so we need to be aware of the day-to-day costs,” Uusitalo states.
“Many large paper plants have already optimized their product portfolio, and they approach us with a relatively finished plan. When the connection has been established and the conversation starts, we can offer the right solution for the customer,” Uusitalo continues.
Petri Petäys, Sales Director of MLE Oy, summarizes: “Process standardization is the first step towards automation. The second step is digitalization. Standardized and digitalized processes can be automated, and we can complement our automated solutions with manually-operated equipment with the same application if required.”
The Investment Pays Itself Back Quickly
The pandemic has accelerated automation, and trust is a crucial success factor as the world economy becomes more unpredictable. “MLE is a well-established global company. This is of utmost importance because the typical lifetime of an AGV is 10-20 years. Our customers need to be sure that our company still exists and can deliver the maintenance and support they need in the future, too,” Uusitalo explains.
An advanced automation system means efficiency and cost savings, so the investment pays itself back quickly. The total cost of ownership is the starting point for budgeting. “Thanks to our long-term rental agreement (LTR), we can offer services for both financing and life cycle needs also with monthly invoicing,” Petäys concludes.
Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe’s AGV operations are based in Järvenpää, Finland, and are known as Rocla AGV Solutions. Rocla AGV Solutions operate globally with a highly skilled staff, benefitting from almost 40 years of experience. www.rocla-agv.com