According to ABI Research, by 2025, 28% of warehouses will be automated with robots, compared to 3% in 2018. With the eCommerce revolution, the increasing demand for flexible and efficient distribution of goods, and rising labor costs, improving logistics has become an absolute priority for companies to remain competitive. There is a race for fast, agile, flexible and cost-efficient logistics, at the heart of which lies intelligent robots.
There are many warehouse robot providers out there. Perhaps what makes Geek+ stand out most is the extraordinary level of experience it has gained in its relatively short history. In under 5 years, Geek+ has become the world's largest independent smart logistics provider, deploying over 10,000 robots worldwide and having completed more than 200 projects across industries, from empowering same day delivery for apparel brands to providing robotics solutions to large regional distribution centers and auto-part factories all over the world. In addition, Geek+ runs large warehouses in China on a third party basis for eCommerce retailers where it can test and deploy its latest solutions and so its technology has proven itself in a way few, if any, other start-ups can claim.
Mark Messina, COO Geek+ Americas explains: “Our development has given us a great opportunity to fine tune our AI. The eCommerce order volumes in China have been huge. During last Single's Day shopping festival, a promotional shopping event that's even larger than Black Friday, we completed more than 8 million orders in under three days, 86% under 48h.”
Brain Before Brawn
Geek+ cloud brain, the company's proprietary software system is a key component to the success, and the company has more than 400 engineers focusing on making its solutions the most intelligent, robust and reliable. During Single's day, the peak capacity of the entire system for order taking, processing, single-point feedback, pre-processing and interface feedback processing reached 200,000 single orders/per minute. The system operated smoothly, with zero interruption and zero accidents. “That capacity and experience is unmatched. Our 3PL work is effectively a live test bed for Geek+ robots. When people ask if our system is robust, this is what we point to as proof. This experience gives us a great head start in implementing robots for any warehouse in the US.”
Fast Return on Investment
Warehouse and logistics managers often think automation requires a massive investment, and a huge volume of orders to make the leap worth it. This isn't the case.
Rick DeFiesta, Sales Director Geek+ Americas adds: “Logistic managers assume it is a choice between a manual warehouse and a big, fully automated system. To go straight to a $10m plus automation investment is a really big risk and challenge for people. With Geek+, you can start off very small with a few robots. It's very flexible and scalable. It can help a manual warehouse grow and become more efficient, rather than waiting for that point when a major switch is required.”
The robots can also help firms plan for Peak. A company can buy robots to fulfill average throughput, and rent robots for Peak times. This contrasts with traditional automation, which is either designed for Peak, and under-utilized most of the year, or designed for average, with Peak reliant on agency labor.
Geek+ robots increase efficiency by 200-300% on average, and return on investment is under 3 years, sometimes as fast as 12 months, depending on the facility.
Smart Factories: No More Conveyors
As well as providing clients with the technologies to increase efficiency and productivity in warehouses, Geek+ develops driver-less forklifts and moving robotic solutions to replace traditional conveyor belts and introduce flexible production lines. The company's “Intelligent Automated Forklift” has been rolled out in manufacturing facilities and results have shown it to be cost-effective and requiring only a reasonably short time to provide a return on investment. These new types of technologies take warehouse and factory automation to the next level. It is inevitable that even the facilities that already have robots will become even more efficient through the application of more automation technologies, but there are so many facilities that have minimal automation that would benefit from what can probably now be considered a robotic starting point.
Labor-intensive industries are being transformed by technologies, impacted by lack of available labor and increasing costs. In parallel, high requirements for personalization and diversification have made product life cycles shorter, bringing business instability and demand issues to which rigid automation systems are not adapted. For companies in retail, apparel and manufacturing, agility is a now a vital need. This is why flexible and scalable robot systems and shared-service models will dominate. And Geek+ is ready to bring you to the next level.
Partnering with Microsoft
Geek+ works with global technology companies to ensure its software and AI algorithms are best in class. For example, Geek+ and Microsoft have been cooperating closely on applying cloud data applications to AI robots. The first results of this cooperation was unveiled on stage at Microsoft Ignite last November, with Microsoft Azure CTO operating the Geek+ S20 intelligent sorting solution on stage and demonstrating in real time how Geek+ sorting robot can adjust his course when encountering an obstacle thanks to an easily operated application platform operating the AI system.
Geek+ aims to build a smart infrastructure and service network based on robotics technology and strategic partnerships, integrating more and more technology and industrial partners to help customers achieve a digital, agile and intelligent supply chain. This all ties back to Geek+ CARE, the Company's three year-strategy unveiled on October 15 2019 at the Geek+ Global Smart Logistics Summit: Customer Focus, Artificial Intelligence, Robots as a Service, and Ecosystem-enabling.