Geek+, announces the successful launch of 100 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) within the Hong Kong distribution center of Circle K. The AMR deployment enables Circle K to support end customers through the timely configuration of store bound replenishment deliveries. Local store managers can request inventory replenishment in a timely manner and expect more frequent and accurate restocking shipments from the distribution center.
The current Circle K distribution center is 140,000 square feet, and handles the deliveries of more than 300 Circle K convenience stores located in Hong Kong. The service volume is over 600,000 customers daily. With large volumes bound for different destinations and a wide selection of products ranging from small everyday items to food and cold goods, Circle K Hong Kong wanted to automate its warehouse and streamline large-scale logistics processes. In total, there are 14 workstations where store replenish orders from 300 convenience stores are processed and configured.
The decision to automate the logistical operations was made in January 2021. The configuration of 100 Geek+ AMRs, ensures the effective daily handling of over 1,000,000 products.
Lit Fung, VP, and Managing Director of Geek+ APAC, UK and Americas, says: “We are excited to see our system support Circle K with the accuracy, efficiency, and flexibility needed to serve its wide network of convenience stores. Our AI-driven robotics system enables digitalization for streamlining warehouse operations, which helps our customers improve competitiveness in an ever-changing environment.”
Automating goods-to-person workflows
The Geek+ AMRs automate many time-consuming and strenuous tasks traditionally performed by warehouse employees such as finding and moving goods around the warehouse. The goal is to create a safer working environment for the warehouse employees while improving overall productivity. The operation automates goods-to-person workflows within the distribution center. Human pickers remain stationary at picking stations while the AMRs deliver racks with bulk inventory to the picking stations.
The human pickers then retrieve the necessary quantities to complete the store replenishment unit loads.The flexibility of movable robot-compatible racking, combined with the ability to choose the optimal route and organize inventory densely according to real-time demand, will improve space utilization and bring more flexible supply chain operations. Additionally, AMRs can operate 24/7 to better support periods of high throughput demand. The Geek+ iWMS fleet management software controls the operation of all of the robots and interfaces with the distribution center warehouse management software.
Bruce Ma, Senior Supply Chain Manager of Circle K Hong Kong, says: “With substantial challenges facing our team, we aim to improve customers’ and employees’ experiences by reinventing our supply chain using automation technologies.” With ever-changing markets and difficulties predicting future demand, flexibility through digitization and real-time visibility is key to building an agile supply chain.
Moving forward, Geek+ and Circle K Hong Kong will work closely to secure the smooth operations of the largest automated warehouse within Asia’s grocery industry and ensure the timely and accurate allocation of millions of quality products to Circle K’s wide network of convenience stores.