Geekplus Technology Co. today announced the successful launch of 100 mobile robots in Circle K Hong Kong's distribution center. The companies said the deployment is Asia's largest smart warehouse to date and reflects their commitment to building supply chain resilience with technology and supporting customers with a wide selection of products and services.
“We are excited to see our system support Circle K with the accuracy, efficiency, and flexibility needed to serve its wide network of convenience stores,” stated Lit Fung, vice president and managing director of Asia-Pacific, the U.K., and the Americas at Geek+. “Our AI-driven robotics system enables digitalization for streamlining warehouse operations, which helps our customers improve competitiveness in an ever-changing environment.”
Beijing-based Geek+ was founded in 2015 and applies autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and artificial intelligence for warehouse and supply chain management. The company has more than 300 customers and more than 1,000 employees, and it has deployed about 15,000 robots worldwide.
Circle K Hong Kong handles 1M items daily
Circle K is a global brand under Alimentation Couche-Tard, and it has more than 300 convenience stores in Hong Kong. The chain's 140,000-sq.-ft. distribution center currently serves all of its Hong Kong retail stores and more than 600,000 customers daily.
With large volumes bound for different destinations and a wide selection of products ranging from small everyday items to food and cold goods, Circle K Hong Kong wanted to automate its warehouse and streamline large-scale logistics processes.
In January 2021, the company decided to transform its operations with 100 Geek+ AMRs to handle more than 1 million products daily.
“With substantial challenges facing our team, we aim to improve customers' and employees' experiences by reinventing our supply chain using automation technologies,” said Bruce Ma, senior supply chain manager of Circle K Hong Kong.
The robots will automate many time-consuming and strenuous tasks traditionally performed by warehouse employees such as finding and moving goods around the warehouse, Geek+ said. That in turn will create a safer work environment for employees while improving overall employee productivity, it added.
Driven by intelligent software and QR code technology, the network of robots will flexibly move racks of ordered goods from a designated area for inventory to employees positioned at workstations, where they will finalize the picking process guided by a user-friendly interface. Geek+ claimed that its technology will improve overall picking accuracy and efficiency.
AMRs in Circle K warehouse. Source: Geek+
Geek+ to aid supply chain optimization
With ever-changing markets and difficulties predicting future demand, flexibility through digitalization and real-time visibility is key to building an agile supply chain, Geek+ said.
The flexibility of robot-movable racks, combined with the ability to choose the optimal routes and organize inventory densely according to real-time demand, will improve space utilization and add flexibility to Circle K's supply chain operations, said Geek+. The company added that its AMRs, provided through a robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) model, can operate around the clock to better support periods of high throughput demand.
Geek+ and Circle K Hong Kong said they will work closely to secure the smooth operations of the largest automated warehouse within Asia's grocery industry and to ensure the timely and accurate allocation of millions of products to Circle K's network of convenience stores.
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