Kindred announced that American Eagle Outfitters is expanding its fleet of Kindred SORT robots and will install 26 additional units in its primary U.S. distribution centers. American Eagle Outfitters has been using autonomous Kindred SORT systems in Hazleton, Pa. and Ottawa, Kan., since 2018 and is adding more to meet increasing safety distancing standards with the unprecedented surge in e-commerce volume due to the global pandemic.
“AEO is committed to building a supply chain of the future—ensuring we are meeting our American Eagle and Aerie customers however and whenever they choose to shop, and getting merchandise into their hands as quickly as possible,” said Shekar Natarajan, senior vice president of global inventory and supply chain logistics for AEO Inc. “We are excited to continue our partnership with Kindred because artificial intelligence, human-in-the-loop methodology and on-demand robotics as a service are the way of the future. Kindred robots in AEO’s distribution centers have helped to reduce operational costs, increased associate safety, and expedited throughput to better serve our customers."
To create a safe working environment for its employees amid the COVID-19 outbreak, American Eagle Outfitters is using AI-powered warehouse robots to increase social distancing measures. Rather than standing side-by-side with co-workers to conduct pick and place operations, one employee can manage three to four Kindred SORT robots simultaneously, keeping up with e-commerce fulfillment while maintaining social distancing.
Kindred’s AI data shows retailers are facing dramatic peaks in online orders since the COVID-19 pandemic forced retailers to close a number of brick and mortar stores. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March, the number of units SORT piece-picking robots process per day has increased by 45% across the installed base.
“E-commerce retailers are seeking automated fulfillment solutions to limit human contact within their warehouse and fulfillment centers while also maintaining throughput speed to delight their customers with fast, consistent deliveries. The cost of operating distribution centers continues to increase, while the consumer expectation for free shipping remains the same,” said Marin Tchakarov, CEO of Kindred. “American Eagle Outfitters is certainly a leader in the application of warehouse robotics. During these unprecedented times, having the stability and reliability of AI-powered automation has become a proven key factor of success for e-commerce retailers.”
SORT pick-and-place robots utilize AutoGrasp, a robotics intelligence platform that identifies and singulates items to pick and place into an automated putwall. AutoGrasp combines vision, grasping and manipulation algorithms to move clothing, poly bags and other small items.
Kindred uses cutting-edge AI research and human-in-the-loop data methodology to continuously improve robot capabilities so that picking becomes smarter, faster and more accurate over time.