LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. – Zebra Technologies Corp. recently introduced the industry’s most comprehensive picking solution to help businesses improve their fulfillment operations. The fulfillment solution consists of three new autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) – FlexShelf, FlexShelf Guide, and RollerTop Guide – and a new FetchCore fulfillment software package for order or batch picking. These new offerings further extend Zebra’s position as a leader in automating and digitizing critical workflows in warehouses, distribution and fulfillment centers as order volumes increase, labor pools get more competitive and customer expectations continue to rise.
FetchCore enterprise cloud software allows companies to quickly modify workflows on-demand for warehouse operations. It enables the dynamic orchestration of labor and robots by integrating with leading warehouse management systems (WMS) and warehouse execution systems (WES) to optimize order, batch, case, and pallet picking workflows. FetchCore’s new fulfillment software package incorporates warehouse annotation, wave management, a pick heatmap, advanced fulfillment analytics and forklift detection features. The warehouse annotation feature superimposes the physical pick locations in a facility logically into FetchCore eliminating the need for QR codes and enabling AMRs to automatically adjust to reslotting within a warehouse.
“Zebra’s fulfillment solution enables Manhattan Associates to combine an end-to-end, best-in-class fulfillment AMR solution with optimization capabilities inherent to our warehouse management system software,” said Jon Liberman, vice president of Enterprise Mobility at Manhattan Associates, a PartnerConnect Premier Solutions partner. “We are excited to provide a solution that increases the efficiency of each picking and case pick to pallet operations especially while many of our customers are experiencing challenges with a competitive labor pool, supply shortages, and smaller delivery windows.”
Powered by the enhanced fulfillment software package in FetchCore, the three new AMRs expand upon Fetch’s existing case picking capabilities while providing several unique advantages over existing each picking AMRs in the market. Fetch AMR’s can deliver up to three times increased productivity in fulfillment operations while total throughput in a facility is increased as a result of these new AMRs operating up to 50% faster than other fulfillment AMRs.
Built on the proven Fetch Freight100 platform, the FlexShelf and FlexShelf Guide provide flexible configurations for bin sizing and spacing, which expands the types of items that can be picked using AMRs. Both AMRs also reduce worker training time and increase picking accuracy by incorporating put-to-light and pick-side lighting – a critical element during seasonal peak periods when order volumes and seasonal staff are at their highest levels. Attracting and retaining staff is easier as the solution can reduce the amount of time pickers spend walking by up to 60%, and features like ANSI RIA R15.08 compliance help keep them safe. An industry-first forklift detection feature enables AMRs to avoid forklift blind spots helping prevent damage to the AMRs. Businesses deploying the RollerTop Guide AMR can integrate each picking workflows with existing fixed conveyance, sortation and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS).
All of these new AMRs can be purchased utilizing a capital or Robot as a Service (RaaS) model, depending upon customer preference. Deployments are fast and cost-effective because all Fetch AMRs operate on a facility’s existing Wi-Fi network with the option to use current handheld, voice and vision technologies capable of interfacing with FetchCore’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) in the cloud.
“In 2020, we introduced SmartSight as our first automation solution for front-of-store retail, and we welcomed Fetch and its broad portfolio of AMRs for material transport in logistics and manufacturing into the Zebra family just a few months ago,” said James Lawton, vice president and general manager of Robotics Automation, Zebra Technologies. “Our new comprehensive fulfillment solution brings together the best of both companies to help our retail, wholesale and third-party logistics (3PL) customers overcome the biggest challenges in their each and case picking workflows with automation that is truly intelligent,” he added.
“Retailers are facing increasing consumer expectations driven by the on-demand economy while also dealing with growing labor shortages – heightening the need for automated processes that can optimize tasks and maximize the productivity of available talent,” Lawton pointed out. “Zebra’s new fulfillment solution is designed to collaborate with warehouse workers, making them more efficient by reducing the amount of time they spend walking by up to 60 percent. Every retailer needs to modernize their warehouse operations with improved accuracy, productivity and worker safety in order to compete today,” he concluded.
According to Zebra’s Warehousing Vision Study, 77% of respondents agree augmenting workers with technology is the best way to introduce automation in the warehouse. Given increasing consumer expectations driven by the on-demand economy along with a limited workforce, automated processes can help streamline tasks, create happier, more efficient workers, and help businesses stay competitive in a dynamic marketplace.
“AMRs that support manual picking operations in fulfillment centers are in incredibly high demand, as retailers and 3PLs struggle to keep up with their customers’ demands,” said Ash Sharma, senior research director at Interact Analysis. “Fetch Robotics, now part of Zebra Technologies, has responded to this demand by developing an integrated fulfillment solution so that retailers and 3PLs can now not only streamline each picking operations, but leverage the entire portfolio of Fetch AMRs to automate any manual workflow in fulfillment and distribution centers.”
- Built on the proven Fetch Freight100 platform, the new FlexShelf, FlexShelf Guide and RollerTop Guide AMRs are faster, more accurate and safer than industry alternatives.
- FetchCore enterprise cloud software has been enhanced to automate each and case picking workflows while maintaining support for material transport operations for wholesalers, 3PLs and retailers.
- These new offerings further extend Zebra’s unique ability to help businesses modernize their entire warehouse operations with improved accuracy, productivity and worker safety – from inbound operations to outbound fulfillment.