August 16, 2019

GreyOrange names eight new partners to market its warehouse robots

Move follows exclusive deal with XPO in similar role, as labor scarcity drives quick ROI for automation, partners say.

By Ben Ames

Warehouse automation and robotics vendor GreyOrange Pte. Ltd. will partner with eight U.S. logistics solution providers in a renewed effort to gain traction in the booming e-commerce fulfillment market, the firm said Thursday.

The move is intended to help Singapore-based GreyOrange reach customers who are looking for goods-to-person fulfillment solutions to help meet spiraling demand for e-commerce operations performed with high accuracy rates, the partners said.

GreyOrange, which has its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta and an R&D lab in Boston, will now partner with Avik Services, Bricz, Hy-Tek, Info-Sun, McCombs-Wall, S&H Systems, TREW, and UST Global, the company said. Under the alliances, those firms will help sell, deploy, and service the company's artificial intelligence (AI)-driven fulfillment robots.

The move is the latest effort by GreyOrange to build market share in the U.S. logistics sector, following news in 2018 that transportation and logistics provider XPO Logistics Inc. planned to deploy 5,000 of its autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and become the exclusive provider of those robots for certain logistics applications across North America, the U.K., and eight European countries.

Neither GreyOrange nor XPO replied to a request to comment on whether the eight new partnerships will affect that relationship.

According to the company, its new partnerships demonstrate that GreyOrange is expanding to deliver the leadership and expertise their clients need to transform their businesses for the future. "We partner with some of the most prominent warehouse logistics and supply chain organizations in the world, and our goal is not simply to optimize their operations, but to co-create a warehouse automation system that can scale to fit the needs of their desired future state," Chris Barber, GreyOrange's vice president and CEO, North America, said in a release. "We deliver the technology that helps them achieve the transformation that's at the core of their business plans."

New integration partner S&H Systems, a Jonesboro, Ark.-based industrial automation provider, echoed that message, saying the deal provides S&H with another technology offering to provide its clients with robust and scalable goods-to-person fulfillment solutions. "We're all aware of the current labor shortages and the fact that fulfillment robotics is becoming more and more important to speed and accuracy requirements," Rachel Stacy, S&H's marketing and business development manager, said in an email. "We found that GreyOrange's advanced robotics meets the needs of our clients by delivering high accuracy rates with measurable, high system optimization. In addition, its artificial intelligence platform drives project [return on investment]," Stacy said.

Trew, a Mason, Ohio-based material handling automation provider that is another of the eight partners, plans to follow a similar path, according to Chris Arnold, president and COO of Trew.In an email, Arnold said the company plans to leverage GreyOrange's strength in providing robotic goods-to-person systems with Trew's core products such as its SmartMoves-WX warehouse execution system (WES), CHAMP warehouse control system (WCS), and conveyor systems.

Together, the combination of products will create total solutions that incorporate "get, pick, pack, and ship" fulfillment operations, he said. "Robotics technology adoption for warehouse and fulfillment operations is growing with employment cost, scarcity of labor, and advancements in technology fueling the trend," Arnold said. "No one technology can solve all the robotic opportunities in fulfillment, as one might be great at each picking, one case handling, or another transportation. Trew is proud to work with a number of the leading robotic companies, including GreyOrange who provides an innovative goods-to-person and robotics sortation capability."

Backed by $140 million in venture capital funding, GreyOrange has recently rolled out products like the Butler PickPal and Flexo robotics systems. According to Trew, those platforms allow the company to solve a wide range of each-picking applications, ranging from large SKU counts, inventory with low to high cube, batch or discrete picking, as well as varying levels of order volumes.

Editor's note: This story was revised on Aug. 19 to include updated information from S&H.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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