Geekplus Technology Co. this week announced its mobile robots have been successfully deployed at a 13,500 sq. ft. fulfillment center in Croydon, U.K., owned by British online retailer RangePlus Ltd.
The Beijing-based company said RangePlus now has the firepower to compete with larger actors in the growing e-commerce sector. The Geek+ goods-to-person solution is running 24/7 in RangePlus's fulfillment center with 243,000 SKUs and handles over 250,000 orders per year.
Established in 2014, RangePlus stocks a diverse range of around 4,000 SKUs across toiletries, cosmetics, confectionary, and grocery products.
‘System is paying for itself,’ says RangePlus
The new automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) was designed and delivered in collaboration with warehouse automation specialist and Geek+ strategic delivery partner Breathe Technologies.
“This automated warehouse picking system has been a wise financial decision,” said Shabbab Al-Ghamdi, co-founder of RangePlus. “We can now significantly increase the amount we pick, pack, and ship. ... The system is paying for itself.”
After automating its picking process, RangePlus achieved a 300% improvement in picking rate and order picking time, as well as a 25% reduction in operating costs, according to Geek+. It also maximized its warehouse capacity by stocking 50% more SKUs in the same space while reducing error rates and minimizing waste.
RangePlus' return on investment (ROI) is 100% under two years, proving that investing in AMRs is a sound investment, according to Geek+.
“We are delighted to see our smart picking solution enable RangePlus to achieve efficient, flexible, and accurate operations,” said Lit Fung, vice president and managing director of overseas business at Geek+. “This digital transformation helps them greatly increase their competitiveness and chart their own course as an independent e-commerce provider.”
Manual system couldn’t keep up with demand
Due to the change in customers' shopping behavior from buying in brick-and-mortar shops to online purchasing, RangePlus said it has seen order demand grow rapidly. Its original manual order picking was holding the business back.
With a high number of small and irregular goods, manual order-picking processes were time-consuming and prone to error. RangePlus began looking at automation solutions to boost warehouse capacity and throughput.
After comparing different order-picking options, the company said Geek+'s cost-effective, flexible, automated warehouse picking system was the best choice to help it handle a 25% increase in order volumes and 40% in SKUs.
“Working closely with RangePlus and Geek+, we've created an automated warehouse picking system that's incredibly flexible, modular, and perfectly suited to high-growth e-commerce environments,” said Marcus Uprichard, head of business development and partnerships at Breathe Technologies.
Geek+ touts AMRs
Geek+ said its autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) automate the picking process by bringing the inventory shelves to the warehouse operator at the picking station.
The system reduces the time spent finding and moving goods around manually and improves not only picking accuracy but also employee productivity and comfort.
Empowered by artificial intelligence, inventory shelves are arranged according to demand in real time, according to Geek+. The most in-demand items are close to the operator to ensure a fast and efficient picking process, it added.
Geek+ claimed that its products offer valuable flexibility to companies navigating the rapid changes inherent to e-commerce. The sudden rises in demand that accompany peak seasons like Black Friday and Christmas can be met by quickly adding AMRs to the system, said the company.
In addition, Geek+ said it plans to continue creating and applying technology to support independent e-commerce merchants' transition to smart logistics operations.