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Zebra Technologies expands Fetch Robotics portfolio

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Zebra Technologies expands Fetch Robotics portfolio. Image: Fetch Robotics
Zebra Technologies expands Fetch Robotics portfolio. Image: Fetch Robotics
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Zebra Technologies Corporation, an innovator at the front line of business with solutions and partners that deliver a performance edge, introduced the industry’s most comprehensive picking solution to help businesses improve their fulfillment operations. The fulfillment solution consists of three new autonomous mobile robots – FlexShelf, FlexShelf Guide, and RollerTop Guide – and a new FetchCore fulfillment software package for order or batch picking. These new offerings further extend Zebra’s position as a leader in automating and digitizing critical workflows in warehouses, distribution and fulfillment centers as order volumes increase, labor pools get more competitive and customer expectations continue to rise.

FetchCore enterprise cloud software allows companies to quickly modify workflows on-demand for warehouse operations. It enables the dynamic orchestration of labor and robots by integrating with leading warehouse management systems (WMS) and warehouse execution systems (WES) to optimize order, batch, case, and pallet picking workflows. FetchCore’s new fulfillment software package incorporates warehouse annotation, wave management, a pick heatmap, advanced fulfillment analytics and forklift detection features. The warehouse annotation feature superimposes the physical pick locations in a facility logically into FetchCore eliminating the need for QR codes and enabling AMRs to automatically adjust to reslotting within a warehouse.

“Zebra’s fulfillment solution enables Manhattan Associates to combine an end-to-end, best-in-class fulfillment AMR solution with optimization capabilities inherent to our warehouse management system software,” said Jon Liberman, Vice President of Enterprise Mobility at Manhattan Associates, a PartnerConnect Premier Solutions partner. “We are excited to provide a solution that increases the efficiency of each picking and case pick to pallet operations especially while many of our customers are experiencing challenges with a competitive labor pool, supply shortages, and smaller delivery windows.”

Powered by the enhanced fulfillment software package in FetchCore, the three new AMRs expand upon Fetch’s existing case picking capabilities while providing several unique advantages over existing each picking AMRs in the market. Fetch AMR’s can deliver up to three times increased productivity in fulfillment operations while total throughput in a facility is increased as a result of these new AMRs operating up to 50% faster than other fulfillment AMRs.

Built on the proven Fetch Freight100 platform, the FlexShelf and FlexShelf Guide provide flexible configurations for bin sizing and spacing, which expands the types of items that can be picked using AMRs. Both AMRs also reduce worker training time and increase picking accuracy by incorporating put-to-light and pick-side lighting – a critical element during seasonal peak periods when order volumes and seasonal staff are at their highest levels. Attracting and retaining staff is easier as the solution can reduce the amount of time pickers spend walking by up to 60%, and features like ANSI RIA R15.08 compliance help keep them safe. An industry-first forklift detection feature enables AMRs to avoid forklift blind spots helping prevent damage to the AMRs. Businesses deploying the RollerTop Guide AMR can integrate each picking workflows with existing fixed conveyance, sortation and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS).

All of these new AMRs can be purchased utilizing a capital or Robot as a Service (RaaS) model, depending upon customer preference. Deployments are fast and cost-effective because all Fetch AMRs operate on a facility’s existing Wi-Fi network with the option to use current handheld, voice and vision technologies capable of interfacing with FetchCore’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) in the cloud.

“In 2020, we introduced SmartSight as our first automation solution for front-of-store retail, and we welcomed Fetch and its broad portfolio of AMRs for material transport in logistics and manufacturing into the Zebra family just a few months ago,” said James Lawton, Vice President and General Manager of Robotics Automation, Zebra Technologies. “Our new comprehensive fulfillment solution brings together the best of both companies to help our retail, wholesale and third-party logistics (3PL) customers overcome the biggest challenges in their each and case picking workflows with automation that is truly intelligent.”

According to Zebra’s Warehousing Vision Study, 77% of respondents agree augmenting workers with technology is the best way to introduce automation in the warehouse. Given increasing consumer expectations driven by the on-demand economy along with a limited workforce, automated processes can help streamline tasks, create happier, more efficient workers, and help businesses stay competitive in a dynamic marketplace.

“AMRs that support manual picking operations in fulfillment centers are in incredibly high demand, as retailers and 3PLs struggle to keep up with their customers’ demands,” said Ash Sharma, senior research director at Interact Analysis. “Fetch Robotics, now part of Zebra Technologies, has responded to this demand by developing an integrated fulfillment solution so that retailers and 3PLs can now not only streamline each picking operations, but leverage the entire portfolio of Fetch AMRs to automate any manual workflow in fulfillment and distribution centers.”

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Logistics & Supply Chain

Descartes releases November report on Global Shipping Crisis

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Descartes releases November report on Global Shipping Crisis. Image: Unsplash
Descartes releases November report on Global Shipping Crisis. Image: Unsplash
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Descartes Systems Group, the global leader in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in commerce, released its November report on the ongoing global shipping crisis and analysis for logistics and supply chain professionals. The report shows continued strong U.S. ocean container import volumes and other underlying factors, which point to a challenging 2022 for global supply chains.

For the month of October 2021, U.S. container import volumes continued a 14-month run of significantly higher than pre-pandemic activity (see Figure 1), according to research conducted using the Descartes Datamyne global trade intelligence solution. Overall, October 2021 was 23% higher than October 2019 and 3% higher than October 2020. When comparing the last 12 rolling months versus 2019, however, U.S. container import volumes are up 21% versus 2019.

Descartes releases November report on Global Shipping Crisis. Image: Unsplash

Descartes releases November report on Global Shipping Crisis. Image: Unsplash

“The pandemic has changed the economic fundamentals of consumer buying behavior with the ratio of personal goods to services increasing by 8% (see Figure 2) and the inventory to sales ratio decreasing by over 30% since 2019 1 ,” said Chris Jones, EVP Industry & Services at Descartes. “When we consider challenges like the ongoing driver shortage and upcoming International Longshoremen Workers Union contract next summer, we believe that logistics and supply chain professionals should take a longer view of the crisis and make more strategic adjustments to their operations.”

Descartes releases November report on Global Shipping Crisis. Image: Unsplash

Descartes releases November report on Global Shipping Crisis. Image: Unsplash

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Logistics & Supply Chain

Aramex launches Aramex Go in Saudi Arabia to support entrepreneurs and startups

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Aramex launches Aramex Go in Saudi Arabia to support entrepreneurs and startups. Image: Aramex
Aramex launches Aramex Go in Saudi Arabia to support entrepreneurs and startups. Image: Aramex
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Aramex, a leading global provider of comprehensive logistics and transportation solutions, announces the launch of Aramex Go, an innovative shipping platform that enables Saudi-based entrepreneurs and startups to seamlessly ship products to domestic or international destinations without having a registered profile or a permanent Aramex account.

Over the last two years, Saudi-based entrepreneurs and startups have grown exponentially, the majority of which are in the e-commerce businesses. Those businesses require logistics solutions as a key enabler for business growth. With Aramex Go, Aramex provides an innovative, easy to use platform meeting the needs of these entrepreneurs and startups. Users of the platform will benefit from competitive rates and flexible payment solutions through online payment, cash upon collection, as well as cash-on-delivery services. The platform also delivers a great level of efficiency by allowing multiple shipment creation per session.

Abdulaziz Alnowaiser, General Manager of Aramex in KSA, said: “We are excited to launch Aramex Go in Saudi Arabia, and are encouraged by the booming startup scene in the Kingdom. We believe that our innovative solution will be a gamechanger for entrepreneurs whose business models depend on reliable, affordable, and convenient logistics services. Moreover, the launch of this innovative platform is in line with our strategy to enhance customer experience, ensure healthy and uninterrupted flow of shipments, and boost efficiencies.”

Mohammed Sleeq, Chief Digital Officer of Aramex, said: “At Aramex, we recognize the incredible impact entrepreneurs, startups and social sellers have on the communities and the economy. One of the most crucial elements for the growth and expansion of these integral sectors is ensuring they have reach and access to their customers, and we’re proud to play a major role in helping them grow and flourish. We believe that Aramex GO will champion the success of Saudi entrepreneurs by providing them reliable, efficient, and technology-driven platforms that will enhance their competitiveness in local and global markets, as well as allow them to stay agile and responsive to their customer’s evolving needs.”

Over the last year, Aramex has accelerated investments towards its progressive digital transformation journey, marked by initiatives including the migration to the cloud, investment in asset-light technology-driven solutions such as Aramex Spot and Aramex Fleet, and operation-enhancing AI technologies that optimize delivery routes and shorten delivery times. Aramex also launched Aramex SMART, a full stack payment and delivery solution for e-tailers, as well as CargoWise, an integrated logistics execution platform that provides customization, automation and real-time visibility across global freight forwarding operations.

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Logistics & Supply Chain

Maersk intends to form joint venture with Grindrod in South Africa

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Maersk intends to form joint venture with Grindrod in South Africa. Image: Maersk
Maersk intends to form joint venture with Grindrod in South Africa. Image: Maersk
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In order to enhance its capabilities as a global integrator of logistics in South Africa, A. P. Moller – Maersk now takes the next step to partner with Grindrod Limited to provide logistics solutions.

Through this proposed joint venture, the logistics activities of Grindrod Intermodal business and the ocean activities of Ocean Africa Container Lines (OACL) will complement Maersk’s current Ocean capabilities and Logistics & Services, enabling customers seamless access to a wider range of end-to-end supply chain solutions. Maersk will have a 51% share in this proposed joint venture which will increase access to landside infrastructure and capabilities which are critical to delivering reliable logistics solutions.

With over 100 years of experience The Grindrod Group is a well-known and trusted partner in South Africa. It is the ambition of Maersk to build on the foundation of Grindrod to expand its offerings to customers.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Grindrod in this proposed joint venture, so that we can offer our customers even better value and true end-to-end integrated logistics solutions in South Africa. We will have a far greater ability to seamlessly integrate solutions between ocean and the landside whilst weaving into our organisation an increased capability and experience through colleagues from Grindrod, who has long held a strong reputation in the landside logistics space.” ,said Jonathan Horn, Maersk Southern Africa and Islands Area Managing Director.

Bringing together logistics operations skills and capabilities under this new proposed joint venture will create a base for growth and enable Maersk to excel in the Logistics & Services products execution through better serving customers via intermodal solutions in trucking, rail, depots, warehousing, and ocean feedering.

“Grindrod has been working with Maersk for many years in an area that both organisations are passionate about, understanding our customers’ requirements and finding cost effective and efficient routes to market. Our combined service offering will provide further flexibility and will ultimately contribute to making a positive difference in South Africa’s trade with the world.”, said Xolani Mbambo, CEO GRINDROD Freight Services.

Customers looking for end-to-end solutions in South Africa will continue to work with Maersk, however after closing most of the landside execution will be done by the proposed new joint venture.

The transaction is subject to obtaining regulatory approvals, including required competition law approvals. The new organization will be formed and go live within a few weeks of approval being granted by relevant regulators. Until then both companies remain separate and will continue to conduct their businesses independently.

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