The warehousing sector is a fast-evolving sector in India, undergoing dynamic changes, with both the nature of the business and technology driving it. A report by property consultant JLL India released in March 2018 stated that the warehousing sector will attract investments of about Rs 43,000 crore and create 2 lakh job opportunities in the next three years, driven by GST implementation and growth of the e-commerce sector.
Warehouses of today face a very different set of challenges including product complexity, shorter delivery cycles, and mass customization. Giving them a software-centric approach that drives optimised operations, helps in cost reduction, seamlessly integrates with the automation system, is adaptable to changing business needs and works towards real time intelligent decisions is GreyOrange – a multinational firm that designs, manufactures and deploys advanced robotics systems for automation in warehouses, distribution and fulfilment centres.
GreyOrange has recently introduced a warehouse execution software platform called GreyMatter. The platform leverages Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to provide intelligent solutions to operationalize cost and give the warehouse a competitive advantage.
One radical design which GreyMatter provides is a goods-to-person robot, which enables warehouses to manage high-speed operations by automating order picking and fulfilment.
The Butler PickPal, is a collaborative robot, which works alongside a warehouse operator to pick, consolidate and fulfill orders, and together can achieve 500-600 picks per hour; easily doubling the throughput from the same picking station. It addresses the challenges arising from the global boom in e-commerce as orders need to be fulfilled faster and accurately with more cost-efficiency as competition intensifies. Vertical and horizontal e-commerce industries that operate with a huge number of high-mix SKU inventory, require the shortest order-to-dispatch time and accurate piece-picking.
Akash Gupta, Chief Technology Officer, GreyOrange says, “Working closely with our customers, we see that the order picking process for e-commerce products take up a high percentage of the resources of warehouse staff. As companies face increasing challenges in hiring employees, the adoption of automation is the answer to increase productivity, reduce costs and improve the turnaround time. The Collaborative Robots market is poised for exceptional growth over the next years, growing to 34 percent of the global robotics spending by 2025. The material handling segment is expected to experience the largest growth in collaborative robot instalments as more companies deploy them into their processes. We are excited to participate in this segment to help unlock the next level of efficiency in last-mile delivery for e-commerce operations.”
The new Butler PickPal will be deployed in selected sites by mid-year. One of these sizes is the Butler XL, capable of managing a variety of payloads from 100 to 1,600 kgs. This goods-to-person Butler system lets warehouses run high-speed operations by automating inventory storage (putaway) and order fulfilment.
It has been deployed in distribution centers in Japan, Hong Kong, India, Europe and the Americas for industries such as 3PL, e-commerce and retail. The robotics systems handle a variety of items including apparel, home furnishings and personal care, reducing cost per shipment and enhancing productivity of warehouse operations by more than four times.