GreyOrange, a global software and mobile robotics provider that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize fulfilment operations, has announced patents for technology essential for companies to achieve high-yield omnichannel fulfilment as well as to maximise facility space utilization through multilevel operation capabilities.
The patents cover:
- First-to-Fill Technology: Artificial Intelligence within GreyOrange GreyMatter software assesses demand characteristics of each inventory item (known as Stock Keeping Unit or SKU). Based on each SKU’s characteristics and how they relate to the characteristics of other SKUs, the system determines SKU storage locations and configures automated retrieval patterns undertaken by Goods-to-Person robots in the fulfilment center to most efficiently fulfil the most popular items by channel.
- Retail-Ready Fulfilment: Intelligence within GreyMatter understands inventory placement in stores and optimises the packing and routing of store replenishment orders according to each store’s preference, reducing the time and labor required to move inventory from back-room receiving to available for purchase on a store shelf or other store location (on a pallet in an aisle, for example). Algorithms consider optimal replenishment delivery routes, inventory needs and placement preferences by store, inventory delivery format (individual items, cases or pallets), and capacities of the containers or trolleys used to transport replenishment inventory.
- Multilevel Robot Mobility: One or more autonomous robots can place or retrieve from multiple floors or mezzanines in a distribution center inventory housed in mobile storage units, coordinating travel paths with elevators or lifts. This enables companies to optimise the use of autonomous mobile robots in both horizontal and vertical space in a distribution center to maximise inventory volumes and throughput capacity. Workers can remain on one level at pick-put stations while Ranger GTP robots access elevators serving other levels of the DC, retrieve goods, bring them to stations for order fulfilment and take incoming inventory to assigned staging areas on any level. This minimizes human touchpoints, eliminates manual retrieval and placement of inventory, and maximises facility use and fulfilment throughput.
Akash Gupta, GreyOrange Chief Technology Officer, noted that these patented technologies offer customers significant advantages in optimising fulfilment, especially in the face of sudden and dramatic market shifts.
“COVID-19 has illuminated how crucial operational flexibility and intelligence-driven fulfilment prioritisation is in managing through market disruptions,” Gupta said. “Using AI-driven software combined with smart robots to maximise efficiency and better serve customers is an effective way companies can extend their advantage, especially when competitors are struggling to adapt,” he added.
“We’ve seen during COVID-19-driven store shutdowns that companies with GreyMatter have been able to adapt quickly to spiking ecommerce demand by intelligently adapting to steep changes in inventory and order characteristics, seamlessly transforming large portions of store operations to ecommerce operations,” Gupta continued. “Those with robot-assisted and AI-informed systems are at an even greater advantage as they can augment performance and throughput even when operating short-staffed, giving DCs the flexibility they need to keep up shifting demands,” Gupta concluded.