January 14, 2020

HighJump to integrate software with Locus Robotics AMRs

Deal allows parent firm Korber to handle wider variety of DC goods, also includes reselling agreement.

By Ben Ames

Supply chain technology vendor HighJump Software Inc. will partner with warehouse automation provider Locus Robotics to resell Locus' autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and implement them for fulfillment tasks by retail and third-party logistics (3PL) customers, the companies said Monday.

Wilmington, Massachusetts-based Locus says its collaborative robotic solution drives productivity to ensure that brands are able to keep up with consumer demand and meet fulfillment goals in today's booming retail market, despite the widespread scarcity of warehouse labor and massive influx in order volumes.

Minneapolis-based HighJump is a division of Körber Logistics Systems, a German provider of warehousing and logistics solutions that includes eight companies providing industrial voice solutions, capabilities for autonomous mobile robotics (AMR), and automated material handling equipment.

By partnering with Locus, HighJump and its sister companies will be able to extend both their technological and their geographic reach, allowing them to improve their ability "to conquer supply chain complexity with the warehouse of the future," John Santagate, vice president, robotics at HighJump and Körber, said in a release.

The new follows Körber's acquisition earlier this month of the Brazilian supply chain management software and consulting company Otimis Ltda. and in 2019 of a controlling stake in the Australian integrator of voice-directed and autonomous mobile robotics (AMR) Cohesio Group Ltd.

While not an acquisition, the latest move could likewise extend HighJump and Korber's range of tools for helping their customers handle the full range of various goods stocked in distribution centers,  Santagate said in remarks at the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show in New York.

The AMR sector has seen a steady accretion of additional players in recent years, but no single robotic platform is a perfect solution for every type of inventory, he said. Some AMRs may be fitted for handling goods with high velocity turnover, while others are better with seasonal and oversized items, and yet another system is fitted for pallets loaded with break-bulk materials.

Through their series of acquisitions and integrations, HighJump and Korber are continuing to grow their toolset for allowing clients to cope with that variety, whether that occurs in independent sites or even in the same facilities, he said.

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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