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GreyOrange and Ground providing ‘intelligent logistics’ automation solution to Japan’s largest homebuilder

Warehouse automation company GreyOrange and e-commerce logistics solutions provider Ground Inc are supplying technology to Daiwa House Industry, which is said to be Japan’s largest homebuilder.

The agreement will include the application of GreyOrange’s Butler robotics solutions at the Daiwa’s Ichikawa logistics center, on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Daiwa House says the GreyOrange Butler robot will be installed at its “Intelligent Logistics Center” in Tokyo for multiple shippers. 

The company will also use the software platform, GreyMatter, from GreyOrange, which is powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning to “optimise complex operations” for a variety of users.

GreyOrange and Ground say the installation of the Butler robotics operations at the Ichikawa logistics center of Daiwa House Industry has already started.

The Butler robotics system operates in a 7,000sqm facility offering total logistics solutions that are shared and used for multiple shipper companies.

At this site, named “Intelligent Logistics Center Proto”, the Butler goods-to-person solution automates material movement to deliver “higher throughput and productivity”, say the companies.

Junichi Akiba, president and CEO of Daiwa Logitech, the business unit which operates logistics in the center, said: “We have created this new model of shared logistics facilities using robots as our shippers require comprehensive logistics services.

“The Butler robotics system allows us to offer higher performance and realise higher productivity through shared logistics services. This delivers additional and exceptional value to each shipper to support their service level requirements.”

The robotics systems will handle a variety of items, reducing time for order fulfilment and cost per shipment, thus enhancing the productivity for each of the shared users.

The Butler system is powered by GreyMatter, a software platform from GreyOrange that the company says “integrates multiple automation systems to synchronise material flow to gain the highest efficiencies”.

The users of the solution include:

  • airCloset, a subscription-based online fashion rental service for women;
  • Tokyo Otaku Mode, a leading e-tailer for Japanese pop culture; and
  • Waja, an e-commerce site which operates three marketplaces – Worldrobe for imported brands, Reason Outlet and Fashion Charity Project.

Nalin Advani, CEO APAC, GreyOrange, said: “With 70 per cent of the population shopping online, Japan is one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the world.

“We are honoured to partner with Daiwa House Group and Ground Inc to deploy the Butler system to accelerate order fulfilment and consolidation, and ensure consumers get their orders quickly.”

Ground, the Japan-exclusive distributor for the Butler goods-to-person robotics system from GreyOrange, in mid-2017 formed a business alliance to jointly develop with the Daiwa House Group a new generation of “Intelligent Logistics Center” to significantly improve the productivity of logistics facilities.

Hiratomo Miyata, CEO of Ground said: “The labour shortage in the logistics industry has become a critical issue. Automation of key processes for e-commerce fulfilment is a necessity for companies to maintain a competitive edge.

“We are pleased to be a part of such innovative initiatives with the Daiwa House Group. We look forward to working closely on supporting their clients and their businesses with the Butler system.”

GreyOrange says the Butler system enables high-speed operations by automating inventory storage and order fulfilment. It has been deployed in distribution centers in Japan, Hong Kong, India, Europe and the Americas for industries such as third-party logistics, e-commerce and retail.