Lucas Systems, today announced a partnership with Silicon Valley-based Fetch Robotics to enable the next generation of smart warehouses. Through the partnership, Lucas and Fetch will offer tailored solutions to orchestrate and optimize how warehouse workers interact in harmony with Fetch’s autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
Fulfillment and distribution centers are under tremendous pressure due to growth in e-commerce combined with a shrinking labor market. Lucas executives say its clients need help increasing throughput and maintaining high worker productivity while meeting accuracy and more stringent customer delivery requirements. These market pressures have led to rethinking old models and focusing on new, innovative ways to improve DC performance.
The Lucas Systems Jennifer Intelligence is the brains of the warehouse. Jennifer uses order, inventory and location data from other systems and applies real-time AI-based algorithms to optimize work assignments and tasks. Jennifer then orchestrates material and order movement through the warehouse by communicating to both human and robotics workers where to go and how to process orders.
“The future environment of warehouses and distribution centers will be a mix of people, robots, machines, and systems all working together. The precise orchestration of all the pieces will be key to achieving a competitive advantage in performance,” said Ken Ramoutar, Chief Marketing Officer at Lucas Systems.
“The combination of Lucas’ AI-based warehouse optimization software and Fetch’s broad portfolio of AMRs enables optimized order, batch, case, and pallet picking in distribution centers and automates virtually any manual material movement in a facility,” said Stefan Nusser, Chief Product Officer at Fetch Robotics. “This enables our joint customers to increase picking efficiency, reduce cycle times, and reduce the impact of labor shortages.”
“That intersection of how people and robots work together is a hugely important and often overlooked part of the warehouse automation equation, but it’s where a lot of the unseen value exists,” says Ramoutar.
The combined solutions from Fetch and Lucas will materially redistribute the division of labor in the warehouse. Robots will manage tasks best suited for machines, and this will free up warehouse workers to focus on higher-valued work. In an AMR-supported picking workflow orchestrated by Lucas, for example, a worker can avoid a lot of unnecessary walking by picking items to a tote on a Fetch AMR, directing the AMR to a conveyor system to unload, and then triggering another robot to move into place for the worker to continue picking.
Note that Fetch Robotics recently announced that it is being acquired by Zebra Systems. You can also read more news and stories about Fetch Robotics on The Mobile Robot Guide.