As demand for e-commerce order fulfillment continues to accelerate worldwide, so too has utilization of mobile robots. Kantsu Co., a leading provider of logistics and warehousing services in Japan, will deploy a fleet of 200 Picker robots at its primary distribution center in Osaka, Japan, announced inVia Robotics Inc. today.
Last year, e-commerce sales grew 25% in the Asia-Pacific region, more than North America and Europe combined. Some analysts predict that the region will reach $3 trillion in online sales by 2021. As a result, retailers and supply chains are urgently looking for ways to increase efficiency to keep pace with growing demand.
Kantsu automates to maintain service quality
Kantsu was founded in 1986 and has recently added more than 161,000 sq. ft. of capacity and 100 employees per year. It had about 250 corporate customers and 736 employees as of February 2020. To satisfy customer-service expectations, the company turned to Westlake Village, Calif.-based inVia to automate order fulfillment.
“Our customers are being pressured to provide more products and faster service to their consumers, and inVia’s robots ensure that we are always delivering the right products quickly,” stated Hisahiro Tatsushiro, CEO of Kantsu. “inVia Robotics’ technology allows us to offer superior logistics services to our customers.”
Westlake Village, Calif.-based inVia said its Picker autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and Logic warehouse-optimization software will help Kantsu automate picking, enabling warehouse staffers to sort at rates of 800 to 900 units per person. Typical pick rates are about 225 units per person, per hour, an inVia spokeswoman told The Robot Report.
inVia said its AMRs automate the storage and retrieval process to move products swiftly and accurately through the order-fulfillment process. inVia Logic uses AI algorithms to adapt to fluctuations in demand in real time and adjust warehouse mapping to create more efficient paths and processes.
Kantsu will also manage inventory replenishment and cycle counting through inVia’s system. This will help it maintain inventory accuracy and ensure customers receive the items they want when they want them. With the volume of online orders spiking during the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of automation for efficiency and quality control is more critical than ever, said inVia.
inVia acknowledged that its inVia Logic software did require some customization to be integrated with Kantsu’s proprietary warehouse management system (WMS) in Phase 1 of deployment.
“This is standard, as every customer has a different system, and it’s one of the reasons we’ve created proprietary integration tools like inVia Connect to remove friction from the process,” the spokeswoman added. “Phase 2 for Kantsu will include system improvements that will further optimize the fulfillment process and increase productivity rates beyond the gains seen in Phase 1.”
inVia noted that its use of AI enables it to continually improve efficiency. The company claimed that its systems are modular and flexible to enable the implementation of automation “at a pace that ensures adoption.”
inVia said it will provide ongoing support to Kantsu, its largest deployment in the Asia-Pacific region to date, through a local partner in Japan.
“Kantsu is leading innovation in Japan’s logistics industry, and their upgrade to mobile automation allows them to provide superior service to their customers,” said Lior Elazary, co-founder and CEO of inVia Robotics. “We are excited to bring the precision and speed of inVia’s robots to Japan and Asia. This region has set the bar high on robotics innovation, and our technology is a great market fit.”