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Optimizing Warehouse Operations with “Smart” Machines

Supermarkets are designed to entice shoppers to spend money by making them walk down aisles stacked with chips and snacks to the back of the store to find staples like milk, eggs, and meat. Warehouse clubs like Costco employ a similar strategy with paper goods and laundry detergent, but they also routinely change the locations of popular items to create a “treasure hunt” that gets customers wandering around and discovering new items to fill their oversized carts.

When customers visit your website, you want them filling their online shopping carts to the brim, but will all those orders send your people off on a treasure hunt to find items scattered throughout the warehouse? That’s one of the many costly downsides to the traditional person-to-goods model of e-commerce fulfillment operations: workers walking back and forth from one end of the warehouse to the other, pulling items off shelves and returning to the picking station over and over.

There is a better way.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence has a bad reputation. From “The Terminator” to “The Matrix,” Hollywood has made a fortune spinning tales of AI systems becoming self-aware and deciding to delete humanity.  And while this bleak picture of life under our “robot overlords” sells movie tickets, the reality is that computers, robots and AI have improved the quality of our lives immensely.

Artificial Intelligence is commonly defined as a machine that carries out a task in a manner that we would consider “smart” or “intelligent.” This includes understanding language, recognizing images or objects, and solving problems. Machine Learning is a branch of AI where special algorithms are used to analyze data and make suggestions for how to improve a process or task.

At inVia Robotics, our Robotics-as-a-Service solution uses Machine Learning to make your existing warehouse operations dramatically more efficient—up to 500 percent more efficient—while cutting costs up to 50 percent.

Our software integrates seamlessly with any warehouse management software (WMS)—from big-name players like HighJump and Manhattan Associates to Microsoft Nav and proprietary systems.

Implementing the inVia Robotics solution is not costly or time-consuming. With a brief review of your data, we can recommend the best deployment. There’s no need to redesign your entire process or modify your distribution center. Our robots integrate easily into existing infrastructure and require no downtime to get up and running. And adding extra robots to handle seasonal swings or continuous growth is as easy as unpacking a crate.

Once on the job, inVia’s fleet of robots roll through your warehouse mapping out routes designed to save time and money. They retrieve items far more efficiently than workers walking the aisles, which allows your people to focus on doing more meaningful work. Workflows can even be adjusted in real time, changing routes and item placement based on current demand, popular inventories, and other factors.

For example, if orders increase for a particular product due to a promotion, the system recognizes that spike in demand and may recommend moving the item closer to the picking station. Data collected by the system can also help optimize shelf storage density by eliminating wasted space.

Ready to learn more about how Machine Learning and inVia Robotics’ RaaS solution can help your business run smarter? Reach out to our sales team today.