How do mobile robots enhance picking efficiency for retailers?

Posted by Geekplus on Jan 5, 2024 1:27:56 PM

Consumerism has moved online. Each time a customer clicks purchase, it sets off a complex chain of events centered around order processing. In order processing, piece-picking is among the most time-consuming and labor-intensive steps. Improving the efficiency of piece picking, while reducing labor costs is key to enhancing the entire order fulfillment process.

Planning and order fulfillment optimization has historically been extremely difficult.  Complex retail business models, the vast variety of products offered by one retailer and the consumer demand for increasing delivery speed are all challenges adding to retail order fulfillment complexity. The rise of e-commerce has introduced multiple new issues like the need to integrate online and offline retail sales.

The biggest pain point may be picking for order fulfillment.

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Automate retail order fulfillment

Retailers already know the pitfalls of manual picking: order inaccuracies, inability to handle high volumes, challenges retaining workers. With automated order fulfillment fueled by a Shelf-to-Person solution, robots retrieve mobile shelves from storage and transport them to picking station operators. This process eliminates the need for associates to walk aisles to fulfill orders, which is a slower, more labor-intensive workflow.

Improvements in the mechanical efficiency of hardware such as robots, workstations, as well as enhancements in human-machine interaction, continuously enhance overall operational efficiency, as well as the comfort and safety of personnel. With a variety of picking and dynamic slotting strategies in the system, such as pull picking, dynamic wave grouping, and automatic slotting, the one-time picking hit rate is continuously improved.

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Retailers use Shelf-to-Person mobile robots from Geekplus for order fulfillment flexibility.


Mobile robots bring retail flexibility

All retailers are searching for multi-category compatibility: One-stop picking for large, medium, and small items, with various product picking strategies for different categories.

In the retail business, there are various product categories with different sizes and weights, leading to diverse requirements for carrier dimensions and load capacities. The Geekplus Shelf-to-Person solution adapts to multiple types of shelves, such as layer board shelves, cardboard shelves, hanging shelves, and pallet shelves. The solution supports a wide range of product storage; robots can carry loads weighing between 500 kg and 1,200 kg. The fact that myriad product types can be picked at one workstation reduces the need for subsequent order merging operations, lowering management complexity.

In retail, the diversity of product categories leads to significant differences in characteristics, requiring various business strategies to support storage and outbound operations. For instance, different warranty periods require a first-in-first-out approach, and some products have incompatible features and need to be stored and retrieved separately. Shelf-to-Person solutions offer a wide range of system strategies that take into account unique product characteristics.

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Shelf-to-Person fits shifting business needs

Shelf-to-Person mobile order fulfillment robots provide flexible and easy scalability. The stable, reliable response from mobile robots is a steadying influence during times of significant retail activity, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, and business growth.

Flexible capacity: The leading Shelf-to-Person solutions can easily handle peak promotions by activating the optimal number of robots based on rapid increases or decreases in business volume. This effectively balances the pressure on logistics during peak and off-peak seasons.
Fast expansion and layout adjustment: Mobile shelves and robots provide inherent flexibility, allowing for quick adjustments and replication of solutions in various situations, such as rapid changes in business scale, layout modifications, and picking area expansions.

Stable and reliable: The system has an availability rate of 99.98 percent. The decoupled solution design ensures that a single point of failure does not affect the overall system. There is no need to worry about the “picking area” falling behind during peak season.

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Geekplus Shelf-to-Person systems are flexible, reliable and can grow with your business.



Investment to hedge against uncertainty

While the unstoppable rise of e-commerce activity seems like it will fuel the retail industry forever, there is still uncertainty in future business development. This leads some retailers toward more cautious investments. The Geekplus Shelf-to-Person solution offers a mature, modular approach that supports picking solutions based on the current business scale and allows for rapid expansion later. This ensures phased investments without tying up capital while also guaranteeing the rapid change of logistics solutions after the fast growth of the business.

Geekplus enables automation through a range of reliable and innovative mobile robotics solutions fit any retailer’s order fulfillment needs. Warehouse automation must be scalable, that’s why Geekplus allows customers to grow at their own pace, enabling sustainable and flexible operations through stable and cost-effective solutions, dependable service and local teams.

With Geekplus, retailers place their warehouse upgrades in expert hands, allowing them to focus on business growth. But customers are not simply users of Geekplus mobile robots and software but collaborators in a transition from highly manual processes to fulfillment center automation. The most successful retail customers know lasting transformation requires a symbiotic relationship and are ready to take the automation journey with Geekplus.