The explosive growth of eCommerce was already having a dramatic effect on retail, and then the pandemic occurred. According to Prologis, there will be an additional 20% increase over the previous eCommerce predictions in 2021 and another 17% increase over the previous eCommerce predictions in 2022. This trend is expected to continue even after the pandemic ends with 94% of the United States buying the same amount or more online after COVID-19 ends.
This additional and sustained growth of eCommerce is expected to have a profound impact on the supply chain. Most reports estimate that it takes three times as much space for eCommerce than traditional shopping as none of the inventory is in stores. This will drive an additional billion square feet of warehouse space by 2025. Beyond the amount of extra space required, there is also a massive trend for retailers to ship to both consumers and stores from the same distribution center.
To contend with steadily growing order volumes and an ongoing labor shortage, distribution and fulfillment centers must embrace smarter technology to keep operations running. Automation is key to meeting demand. Automation should not only be flexible to show a fast return on investment and ability to change if business needs change, but also able to scale and interwork with other types of automation in a distribution or fulfillment center.
Our AMRs not only provide flexible automation, but also scale with business operations by being integrated with other types of automation equipment such as ASRSs, sortation systems, and software that constantly monitors material being received, urgent orders received, and shipping times. This enables AMRs to be an organic part of the larger distribution center instead of an isolated cell within a distribution or fulfillment center.
Our fulfillment solutions enable real-time, dynamically updated system-wide pick optimization and orchestration across order picking, batch picking, and case picking workflows. These can be implemented independently as standalone workflows or as a single solution that encompasses all of these workflows to optimize picking operations of merchandise ranging in size from tiny transistors to 3000 pound pallets and everything in between.
Today’s warehouse operations are caught between soaring demand and critical labor shortages. They desperately need to increase throughput and improve efficiency—and the Fetch fulfillment solution from Zebra can be the workforce multiplier they’ve been looking for.
Fetch AMRs can transport palletized loads up to 48" x 48" with 2,500 lbs capacity for pallet picking applications.
Streamline returns process using AMRs to transport returns to restock, repack, refurbishment, liquidation stations or areas.
Want to learn more about how flexible automation can improve productivity in your facility? Get started by contacting an automation expert.