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Zebra Technologies expands Fetch Robotics portfolio with solution to optimize fulfillment workflows

Zebra Technologies, which provides automation solutions to the supply chain sector, has introduced what it claims is “the industry’s most comprehensive picking solution to help businesses improve their fulfillment operations”.

The fulfillment solution uses machines from Fetch Robotics, which Zebra recently acquired, and consists of three new autonomous mobile robots – FlexShelf, FlexShelf Guide, and RollerTop Guide – and a new FetchCore fulfillment software package for order or batch picking.

These new offerings further extend Zebra’s position as a leader in automating and digitizing critical workflows in warehouses, distribution and fulfillment centers as order volumes increase, labor pools get more competitive and customer expectations continue to rise.

FetchCore enterprise cloud software allows companies to quickly modify workflows on-demand for warehouse operations. It enables the dynamic orchestration of labor and robots by integrating with leading warehouse management systems (WMS) and warehouse execution systems (WES) to optimize order, batch, case, and pallet picking workflows.

fulfillment software package incorporates warehouse annotation, wave management, a pick heatmap, advanced fulfillment analytics and forklift detection features. The warehouse annotation feature superimposes the physical pick locations in a facility logically into FetchCore eliminating the need for QR codes and enabling AMRs to automatically adjust to reslotting within a warehouse.

Jon Liberman, vice president of enterprise mobility at Manhattan Associates, a PartnerConnect premier solutions partner, says: “Zebra’s fulfillment solution enables Manhattan Associates to combine an end-to-end, best-in-class fulfillment AMR solution with optimization capabilities inherent to our warehouse management system software.

“We are excited to provide a solution that increases the efficiency of each picking and case pick to pallet operations especially while many of our customers are experiencing challenges with a competitive labor pool, supply shortages, and smaller delivery windows.”

Powered by the enhanced fulfillment software package in FetchCore, the three new AMRs expand upon Fetch’s existing case picking capabilities while providing several unique advantages over existing each picking AMRs in the market.

Fetch AMRs can deliver up to three times increased productivity in fulfillment operations while total throughput in a facility is increased as a result of these new AMRs operating up to 50% faster than other fulfillment AMRs.

Built on the proven Fetch Freight100 platform, the FlexShelf and FlexShelf Guide provide flexible configurations for bin sizing and spacing, which expands the types of items that can be picked using AMRs.

Both AMRs also reduce worker training time and increase picking accuracy by incorporating put-to-light and pick-side lighting – a critical element during seasonal peak periods when order volumes and seasonal staff are at their highest levels.

Attracting and retaining staff is easier as the solution can reduce the amount of time pickers spend walking by up to 60%, and features like ANSI RIA R15.08 compliance help keep them safe.

An industry-first forklift detection feature enables AMRs to avoid forklift blind spots helping prevent damage to the AMRs. Businesses deploying the RollerTop Guide AMR can integrate each picking workflows with existing fixed conveyance, sortation and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS).

According to Zebra’s Warehousing Vision Study, 77 percent of respondents agree augmenting workers with technology is the best way to introduce automation in the warehouse.

Given increasing consumer expectations driven by the on-demand economy along with a limited workforce, automated processes can help streamline tasks, create happier, more efficient workers, and help businesses stay competitive in a dynamic marketplace.

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