warehouse picking

Human Warehouse Picking Still Has It All Over Robots

| Gabe Grifoni

It’s often joked that robots will soon replace humans, down to the most menial, everyday tasks. But many robotics companies are in an actual arms race to replace human labor, particularly in the supply chain. Yet it’s often still too costly to implement, leaving humans as the most efficient, effective method for warehouse picking.

MCM CommerceChat podcast

Driving Toward Interoperability for Warehouse Robots

| Mike O'Brien

There has been a steady proliferation of autonomous mobile robot makers. This while demand has grown for AMRs in order fulfillment, as ecommerce booms and labor is tight. But can different warehouse robots play nice together? Two members of a standards group explain how it’s happening in this MCM CommerceChat podcast.

Fetch Robotics in warehouse feature

Fetch Robotics Acquired By Zebra for $290M

| Mike O'Brien

Zebra Technologies, a provider of hardware and software for warehouse fulfillment and inventory management, has acquired Fetch Robotics for $290 million, after an initial investment and partnership. Zebra saw a good fit between its workflow software and inventory/pick management devices and Fetch’s AMR capabilities.

Pickle robotic arm feature

Pickle, Robotic Arm for Fast Trailer Unloads, Picks Up Funding

| Mike O'Brien

Pickle, a startup that grew out of a lab at MIT and created a robotic arm that can unload up to 1,800 boxes an hour from a trailer, has raised $5.75 million to date and picked up 3PL and parcel shipping clients who have a need for speed. Dill can handle the 1,800 items per hour to a sorter, or 1,000 an hour directly to a putwall.

Boston Dynamics stretch feature

Boston Dynamics Unveils Warehouse Robot Stretch

| Mike O'Brien

Boston Dynamics, creators of the viral dancing robots video just before New Year’s Eve, is making further inroads into the warehouse automation space with the unveiling this week of Stretch, a mobile robot purpose-built for unloading and palletizing and de-palletizing boxes. The company was acquired by Hyundai in December 2020.

Nimble Robotics Simon Kalouche feature

Nimble Robotics Takes In $50M, Adds AI Luminaries

| Mike O'Brien

Nimble Robotics, a maker of order picking and packing robots for ecommerce, is the latest fulfillment automation maker to join the massive VC gravy train of late in ecommerce technology, raising $50 million in Series A financing in a round led by DNS Capital and GSR Ventures.

Fulfillment Automation and Reduced Labor Costs

| Brian Barry

In 2021, will order demand continue at the same volume? How will it change? And how will it impact my labor demand? For many multichannel companies, this means moving toward fulfillment automation in order to decrease the amount of labor and its increasing costs. Here are 2 scenarios where automation was cost justified.

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Locus Robotics Now a Unicorn with New Funding

| Mike O'Brien

Locus Robotics, a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) for fulfillment warehouses, has raised $150 million in a Series E round, led by Tiger Global Management and Bond, bringing its valuation to the unicorn level north of $1 billion as its business multiplies. The company is looking to expand in Europe and enter APAC in 2022.

Walmart MFC control center feature

Walmart Expands Store-Based Grocery Fulfillment Automation

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart is taking another huge leap forward in its attempt to dominate grocery sales, launching an aggressive plan to increase the number of stores using micro fulfillment via automation and robotics to speed orders to local customers as it builds on the digital legacy of the departing Marc Lore. Dozens of such locations are planned.

Locus robots feature

Do You Need Robots Now in Your Ecommerce FC?

| James Beale

We’re at a tipping point where automation is about to be a mainstream focus of ecommerce fulfillment centers. But while automation may be a sensible investment for bigger players like Amazon, that doesn’t mean it will scale effectively to smaller operations. So, are fully automated facilities really the future, and if so, what will it look like?