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High Speed order picking & Stacking

Any warehouse requires pick workers and stacking workers. A warehouse is temporarily used to store goods such that it can be retrieved when required. This sounds simple enough not needing any automation. But consider a warehouse that has 1000's or tens of thousands of SKUs (Stock keeping Units) and locations. How can a pick worker quickly and efficiently store and retrieve products?

An example of such an industry is eCommerce retail industry. With SKUs crossing tens of thousands and exponentially growing, the need for an efficient automation solution is a hard pressing issue here. Thousands of sellers connect with millions of buyers online and place orders. Buyers expect instant, accurate and cost effective experience in compared to buying off a retail store. The sellers are connected to the buyers by means of a ecommerce solution provider who runs the website, sets up warehouses enabling order fulfillment and uses logistics to do the last mile delivery.

Orders can be substantially increased by constant advertising campaigns. Deliveries can be expanded to more third party logistics providers. But doing the order fulfillment in time is the key to the whole process. The ecommerce company needs to set its supply chain and logistics in order before expecting to grow exponentially or maintain growth momentum. A typical market leader would have hundreds of pick workers running around the warehouse picking and stacking products onto inventory shelves. A more advanced distribution center would use conveyors, ASRS or similar systems to clear this bottle neck. Lately Robots such as drive units help clear this problem with picking speeds up to 600 picks/hr from earlier 50 picks/hr. An example of this would be Amazon using Kiva Robots for Picking and stacking operations.

Similar solutions would include Swisslog, Fetch Robotics, Stingray shuttle system, etc. However it is necessary to address the core issue of increasing the pick rate and also doing it cost effectively. Kiva Robots score over others where small & medium ecommerce business are growing continuously. More Kiva Robots can be added as orders begin to pile up and so can pick rates be raised. In other alternatives, huge upfront capital must be invested without the ability to expand. This means investing capital as much as 2 years in advance and waiting for orders to rise before you make full use of the equipment. Arkrobots are an improvement that can prove to be cost efficient as well as take pick rates in excess of 1200 picks/hr. The pick rates can be further be improved if the pick workers are assisted with other packing workers.

To such high pick rates, it also becomes important to refill or restack the inventory at the same speed. In most other technology options, huge conveyor infrastructure need to be built that run from surplus storage area to the order fulfillment area. Whereas in the case of Robotic drive units, it can be used for stacking operations as well. Stacking involves intelligent warehouse management and supply chain management such that supplies donít run out and required SKUs are available in order fulfillment area well before it is required by the Robotic drive units. Ark Robots communicate with its server to receive picking and stacking tasks. Each Ark Robot can assume any of the tasks and switch its role from time to time. Arkrobots are also driven by relevance operating with only those SKUs that are called for in the task of picking or stacking. Arkrobots also process upto 6 different SKUs at a time making it 6 times more efficient than any other drive units and replaces more manpower than any other technology.

The pick rate with Arkrobot can go higher if the pick worker is able to pick faster than the typical 6 seconds per pick set as default by the system.