Third-party logistics services provider (3PL) Ceva Logistics is reaping the rewards of faster fulfillment thanks to an automated goods-to-person (GTP) picking system at its Truganina warehouse near Melbourne, Australia. Managers at the facility needed a way to help one of the company’s largest e-commerce fulfillment clients accommodate rapid growth and increasing consumer demand for quick, cost-effective delivery. The answer? Robots.
In 2020, Ceva worked with robotics solutions developer Geek+ and systems integrator Körber Supply Chain to implement a robotic picking solution that has since improved efficiency and productivity throughout the facility, ensuring smoother order fulfillment for the original client as well as others in the 3PL’s wider network.
The companies deployed Geek+ autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to expedite the labor-intensive process of picking orders for a large shoe company that was experiencing explosive e-commerce growth. Replacing a largely manual picking process, Geek+ AMRs deliver mobile inventory racks and pallets—weighing as much as 1,000 pounds—to workers at picking stations, saving the employees time that would otherwise be spent walking around the warehouse locating and picking inventory. Orders are now picked and processed faster, workers are less fatigued, and the company saves the cost of adding people in an already tight labor market.
What’s more, the robots are controlled by a centralized system that meshes with Ceva’s existing warehouse management software, allowing for what company leaders describe as a seamless integration that has helped significantly speed operations. The 3PL reaped an immediate fourfold increase in picking efficiency from the project, according to company leaders.
“Thanks to Geek+’s AMR technology, we now have a very fast and efficient picking productivity and throughput solution,” Milton Pimenta, Ceva Logistics’ managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement describing the project.
Company leaders say the AMR project took just three weeks to go live, including the installation of eight robots working in a portion of the warehouse to test the solution. Ceva says it can scale the solution to address other clients’ e-commerce growth and is rolling it out to other facilities around the world.“With the scale of Ceva’s operation at the super-site [near Melbourne], we could immediately see this AMR system was [an ideal solution] for us,” Pimenta also said. “[AMRs are] the future for e-commerce operations, and we are excited to stay ahead of the competition in offering this kind of solution.”