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Mr. John Hayes with Balyo Talks About the Power behind Automated Transportation Solutions
26th March 2021 • The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie • The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie
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Scott MacKenzie, John Hayes

Scott MacKenzie 00:04

Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go Alright, welcome to the industrial talk podcast. Once again, we take a journey into why industry is so doggone cool. I'm telling you right now you're bold, you're brave, you dare greatly you solve problems. you innovate like nobody's business. You're changing lives and you're changing the world. That's why we on this podcast, celebrate you, the industrial hero, that's who you are. Thank you very much for what you do. And that's why we love you here on this platform. In a hot seat in the industrial talk hotseat, we got a gentleman by the name of john Hayes. He is the director of sales at a company called Balyo. And we're going to be talking about autonomous vehicles. So let's get going. Yeah, so there's some challenges that we are experiencing. And and of course, you know that the industrial talk platform is all about innovation and being able to apply that innovation, creativity to apply those solutions to industry to be able to be better, stronger, faster, the Steve Austin approach, and Balyo is no different. We're talking about autonomous vehicles. Now, before we get into that particular conversation, let's just have a just a recap of industrial talk to Dotto again, if I keep on preaching the necessity for education, it's out there, if I keep on preaching the necessity to collaborate, that the people are out on industrial talk, and they do want to collaborate, they do want to solve problems. And thirdly, if we're talking about innovation all the time, and how that innovation is applied to each industry and how they're using that in innovation to well make you better, provide greater customer service, everything in between. It makes sense. So Industrial Talk 2.0 is a focus on being able to make that process the education, the collaboration and the innovation process simpler, because we need to bring people together, we need to be able to have that conversation in a big way. And john Hayden and the wonderful team out of Balyo, they're just like right in the thick of it. And they've got solutions that are very, very important. Now, let's get on with the interview. So we're going to be talking a little bit about the over the period of times we're finding that that labor is a very tight commodity. And yet companies need to keep going. And companies need to keep their doors open. And company needs to continue to deliver good customer service and survive in this particular unique market that we find ourselves in. And of course, the conversation has to revolve around autonomous vehicles, what do we do within the warehouse? And how do we create a safer environment of course. So john and and team Balyo have a great solution. But we definitely talk about a lot of stuff that's associated with the market today. So with that said, Here's john. JOHN, welcome to the industrial talk, podcast absolute honor that you have joined and start to share your wisdom and insights with the listeners of industrial talk. How you doing?

John Hayes 03:35

Very well, thanks for having me on today. Thank you very, very cool,

Scott MacKenzie 03:38

man. I'm gonna enjoy this particular, you know, conversation, because it's really wrapped around and listeners, we're going to be talking a little bit about sort of that lack of labor that exists within today's market and sort of this push for autonomous or automatic vehicles. And then Fortunately for us, john with Balyo sort of understands that particular topic. But before we get going, give us a little background on who you are.

John Hayes 04:05

Well, thank you very much. I hope I have some knowledge and background I started in 1993. In the industry, yeah, I'm old. That's right. I'm getting gray.

Scott MacKenzie 04:19

Hair I don't.

John Hayes 04:22

I started way back then started building vehicles and then went on site to install. And then from there, I was lucky enough to be kind of adopted by this industry. It was a very, very small industry in 93. And most of those folks that I work with moved on to other companies and as did I and jumped back in finishing after I got back from a project in Japan, and sent a resume to a company that happened to have probably four or five people that I was in Japan with that was another AGV company. And it just grew from there moved into sales. Then from sales and applications, engineering into More of a strategic role. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, I think that marketing is a strong component of what we do as well. And then Director of Sales here at Balyo. So I've been, unfortunately, I've been around if you say they've been around for quite some time through the HGTV concept, and now into the EMR world, and you know, some differences, the concepts are still the same, there is still moving product from point A to point B, there's a lot of technology that we talk about, you know, this is different how this works, and those sorts of things. But in the end, I think that customers or users really only care, and can really only afford to care that things get from point A to point B efficiently. And they don't have to worry about it, why put a system in, that's going to be more problems than it's worth.

Scott MacKenzie 05:46

Yeah, for, for the listeners to define AGV.

John Hayes 05:50

And Mr. absolutely happy to do that. So he is he is kind of the catch all term that's been around for ages. And it stands for automatic guided vehicle. And you know, that goes back to the 50s. Really, a very early system, I believe Barrett was the first company that put one of those in on wires. And the fundamental principle of AGV is that path follows. So if you think about the earliest vehicle, it just ran, it had a sensor under the vehicle that looked for the wire in the floor, so the frequency frequency generator and for that frequency, but conceptually, they all do exactly that same thing today, even though most of them are virtual, using something called laser guidance using laser triangulation, they still do virtually the same thing. Now Amr is a new concept, which stands for automated or autonomous mobile robot. Really, it's a technology difference. And then it's highlighted by the way that it gets from point A to point B autonomous mobile robots path plan versus path follow. So that whole concept going back to the 50s with the wiring the floor, has been turned on this year. So use a similar technology, sensor base, much more sensor, which has a lot more sensors on the vehicle, but the vehicle itself maps its environment and then understands where it's at, and doesn't follow a defined path. It creates its own path now many companies constrain them but really that's the difference. One path plans a Mars path plan and agvs path follow. Now there are shades of grey and companies are starting to overlap AGV companies are being more Amr like but they in principle, that's really the what makes them different.

Scott MacKenzie 07:34

So why is this important? What why the why is this tech important with the industry?

Scott MacKenzie 07:39


John Hayes 07:42

agvs have historically been very custom. So most vendors would build a custom vehicle every single time for every single customer. And the integration was difficult installation and integration because it required that line in the floor, keeping in mind that it doesn't really exist that much anymore. But it meant a lot more time in the field. So they were expensive. At the root of it, they were expensive, is the shifting to a Amar began a few years back probably 10 or more years ago with respect to ACD vendors putting controls on that we haven't vehicles ever again, being vehicles being high street Ale, which is one of the companies we use lambda in Europe, those types of vehicles platforms and putting controls on them. And then the structure of going to a controls platform that didn't require infrastructure. So that wire in the floor or the targets or those sorts of things, that concept called slam and stands for simultaneous location and mapping, and almost masters of infrastructure for use that concept. What highlight said is the fact that it's inexpensive, because we don't need anything to Matt, I mean, we use the vehicle to map the facility, we don't need any infrastructure. And the systems become smarter and smarter. So as time went on, the systems become smarter and smarter, the tech gets better. But there's a trade off, as with anything, right? That new tech is still It has great promise. But it's not as stable. It's not as accurate, generally speaking, and it's not as fast as AGV technology. So it's almost like going to you take the car concept. You've got gas powered cars, right. And you could have a drag race gas powered car, you know, like the john Porsche concept of drag car. You can have an electric car. Obviously electric car is more technologically advanced. But right now there's no drag race, electric car, maybe in the future, right? So to draw an analogy, that's kind of where we're at You can, you can have a Cadillac of a system that, you know, you can trust with an AGP concept. We'll just do the job all day long, it's a little more expensive, maybe in some ways a little, you know, maybe has a little bit more maintenance because of the awkward equipment. But you know, it works. And then there's the other side. And then there's the far side is the tech of the situation, the the tech, the Amr, Amr tech in and of itself, with respect to some of the applications suitability is great, because it doesn't require high accuracy, and it doesn't require high speed. And when I say that application will make it more clear, picking applications where people walking along, or being what we call, picking those say, in an area in the vehicles will come to them. And they will place something in the bins, that doesn't require an awful lot of speed. It doesn't require an awful lot of accuracy. A lot of integration work. But you know, that's expected across the spectrum. But when you start to get into the middle ground, and then moving over to speed and efficiency, that's where the Tech has promised. But it's not totally there yet. So you know, you're just not quite yet. Okay, this

Scott MacKenzie 11:17

is all great. Well, what problems are we solving? What What is the problem that's demanding this?

John Hayes 11:24

Well, taking tech out of it, and let's just look at it as an industry. Historically, going back many years, the problem we were solving was one of our ally, it was one where you erred on the side of the company every single time, which was, I would theoretically talk to someone about, well, we could take a person off of a forklift, and that would save you X number of dollars a year. And in order to do this project, you will need to remove this many people. And you will get what you call her rate. Typical hurdle rates in the US are 18 months or two years. So it's always been at that point about ROI. And it's completely changed. So what are we solving today, I'm driving down the highway and you'll see manufacturing plants and distribution plants with banners hanging outside now hiring. And what we're solving is an inability for businesses to find people to move product. And it is a it's a real problem. And it's one that exists this move the needle for this type of equipment, it's it's wildly popular now used to be new people were looking at moving around autonomously and would back away like what in the world am I seeing here is becoming more adopted. The ability just to get Labor has eclipsed nearly any other reasons, purchases, equipment, safety is still a reasoning, certainly. But it's the ability just to find someone. And then when you do so we did a project a couple of years back for a large shipper. And everybody knows who the big two are, it was one of those. And they said that, you know, we're looking at this project because our turnover is over 100%

Scott MacKenzie 13:11

hold a turnover a people,

John Hayes 13:14

turnover of people over 100%. So what what they say, what they said they were seeing is that one of the larger companies put a put a warehouse distribution center and down the road, and people were getting paid a little bit more problem and went down the street. And you can't blame a forklift operator, he's making X number of dollars an hour, if he's going to get a nickel dime, quarter dollar an hour more, he's going to go down the street, that's what's going to happen. But you know, one of the things that I found funny is they would say, Well, you know, eventually they come back because we pay them to come back here, but didn't have you know, you have resources bouncing back and forth and those things. And when you think about trying to run a business, when your primary concern is moving product from either a manufacturing line or through a distribution center, your primary resource is the movement is that person or that equipment. So it's gotten to the point where when you have that risk, you have to find a way to mitigate it. And that's really what we're what it's coming down to. So that I think that's the problem that we're solving today. It's interesting.

Scott MacKenzie 14:24

Yeah, it's interesting, because I would imagine a lot of these distribution centers are not located where there's a big pool of skilled individuals. So that's also a problem, correct?

John Hayes 14:40

It's not, you know, it's funny. If you think about a forklift driver, we don't need a Harvard graduate to drive a forklift and god knows what the savvy ones are the ones that do look at the guy who just moved across the street, and take that Our our network over there. And and the ones that stay. And frankly, any forklift driver, when you look at the safety aspect, the number of injuries for forklift drivers is quite high. Simply because driving a forklift is not the most gentle thing on your body, you know, you're driving, in some cases, a 10,000 pound vehicle around, that's bouncing off of, you know, expansion joints and holes in the floor, or maybe running into things. So you have a lot of injury, you have a lot of those things, which obviously drives your costs up for, you know, insurance as well as workers comp and those things. So, you...