Fetch Robotics, the leader in cloud robotics, today announced a partnership with VARGO, a provider of material-handling systems integration, warehouse execution software and equipment solutions for major fulfillment and distribution centers, to launch an integrated fulfillment solution. The new solution will combine the power of Fetch’s Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) with Continuous Order Fulfillment Engine (COFE), VARGO’s industry-leading warehouse execution system (WES), to enable distribution centers to optimize order fulfillment with the latest technology in real time.
The growth of e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment has pushed companies to optimize their order fulfillment processes to gain efficiencies and to do so with more speed and accuracy. This trend has been further accelerated by COVID-19, which has placed additional strain on distribution centers to increase throughput while keeping employees socially distanced. Many companies have begun applying more automation in their systems in response to this continued pressure and also integrating social distancing into the workflows by dynamically reassigning tasks to specific workers and orchestrating AMR movement. This enables distribution centers to maintain high worker productivity and high worker safety at the same time.
“Distribution centers today are under more pressure than ever before, both in terms of operational efficiency and worker safety. To contend with steadily growing order volumes and an ongoing labor shortage, distribution and fulfillment centers must embrace smarter technology to keep fulfillment operations running,” said Stefan Nusser, chief product officer at Fetch Robotics. “COFE’s history of providing system-wide pick optimization and orchestration across different workflows and types of automation equipment makes it a perfect complement to robot-assisted picking.”
The combined solution from Fetch and VARGO enables a single system to provide optimized piece, batch and case picking workflows with payloads up to 1 1/2 tons for e-commerce, retail distribution and omnichannel operations. The COFE WES, built on over five decades of warehouse industry know-how, is the only WES that controls all the processes that take place inside a distribution center, from material handling equipment to the devices, people and processes. COFE’s “pull-based” fulfillment optimization can yield efficiency gains of over 30 percent compared to sites driven by traditional “waved/push-based” warehouse management systems. When combined with Fetch’s AMRs, COFE can offer further efficiency gains by allowing workers to spend more time picking as opposed to manually moving material throughout a facility and can use insights about overall warehouse operations to improve robot workflows.
“As e-commerce fulfillment operators face ever-increasing pressure to reduce labor and deliver higher levels of production in a more scalable and flexible way, the combination of VARGO and Fetch Robotics, under this alliance, provides a powerful and compelling fulfillment solution,” said Bart J. Cera, president and COO of VARGO. “We are excited about our company’s formal alignment with Fetch Robotics to further deliver industry-leading, robust and expansive solutions for the challenges that e-commerce and distribution operations face.”