Arrow leads with continuous improvement and bold innovations
Arrow Electronics, the leading global provider of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions, recently collaborated with Fetch Robotics to bring on-demand automation to their 500,000 square foot distribution facility in Reno, NV. The major challenge for Arrow was that the distance from inventory storage to a designated induction point was the equivalent of five and a half football fields per round trip, which required a large team of warehouse runners to travel manually between locations. By deploying autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and Fetch’s Cloud Robotics Platform, Arrow was able to easily bridge the dropoff and induction points using material transport robots as a virtual conveyor, which allowed warehouse associates to increase their pick productivity and even be repurposed to other activities due to the high efficiency gain. Dwell time was significantly decreased, while congestion within the facility was also reduced. By implementing on-demand automation with Fetch Robotics, Arrow Electronics was immediately able to streamline and optimize their operations in days without adding any additional infrastructure.
“The Fetch robots integrated into our network and operations easily. Their HMIShelf AMR implemented in 3 days.”
Global Logistics Engineer, Arrow Electronics
Arrow Electronics has become a leader within the electronics distribution industry through providing literally billions of electronic components and computing products to over 150,000 customers globally. To achieve that massive scale at high velocity (Arrow offers free 1-day shipping) requires finding efficiency in every aspect of the operation.
In order to maximize floor space utilization, Arrow’s Reno facility is a half million square feet of dense design, with a labyrinth of bulk material storage, shelving for millions of electronic components, and existing conveyance that occupies a sizable footprint, which feeds an automatic storage and retrieval system.
Although the facility is highly advanced, it is not fully automated. Humans are still required for picking components from inventory stocking shelves, putting them into totes, then transporting them to a conveyor induction point over 500 meters away. A dedicated team of warehouse runners performed this task daily, which not only took a significant amount of labor time, but also increased traffic along the limited aisleways.
Adding more conveyance was initially considered, but the idea was quickly scrubbed after weighing the tradeoffs of time, cost, space, and flexibility. Because technology innovation is at the heart of Arrow’s culture, they ultimately chose to look ahead at new technology instead of traditional infrastructure, which is how they discovered autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) developed by Fetch Robotics. Along with advanced cloud-based software to quickly map the 500,000 square foot facility and setup robot drop off points, Arrow decided to pilot both Fetch’s HMIShelf and CartConnect AMRs. HMIShelf is a self-driving robot with built-in shelves and an integrated touchscreen to execute robot commands. With the CartConnect AMR system, Arrow gained the flexibility of having warehouse carts that can be automatically picked up and dropped off by a self-navigating robot.
In just 30 days of deploying Fetch’s Cloud Robotics Platform, Arrow Electronics was able to:
- Complete 8,287 deliveries by robot
- Save 3,503 miles of non-productive travel
- Decrease order dwell time by 30%
- Repurpose 3 full-time FTE
- Gain visibility throughout the virtual conveyor transport process
- Avoid any additional IT integration costs
Arrow Electronics believes in driving innovation and efficiency throughout the IT supply chain, as evidenced by their initiative, Five Years Out. This philosophy was well-aligned with Fetch Robotics’ mission: to deliver on-demand automation in any facility, at any scale, with any payload, using the world’s first cloud robotics platform.