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Osaro targets fast-growing subscription market with AI-powered kitting robots

Osaro, a developer of machine-learning-enabled robotics for e-commerce, has launched the Osaro Robotic Kitting System.

This addition to its range of e-commerce robots is equipped with advanced piece-picking skills and end effectors to handle the constantly changing array of product SKUs that must be organized, placed, and packaged into custom kits.

The new system addresses the exploding market for subscription products that require kitting. Kitting is both a merchandising strategy and a logistics technique whereby curated boxes of complementary items are packaged and shipped together as a single “kit” with a unique SKU.

Recurring subscription product kits have become increasingly popular with consumers. E-commerce retailers – in sectors from cosmetics, toys, food and beverage, health, baby goods, and fashion to pet products – have embraced the trend because kits can grow revenue and increase sales of slow-moving items.

They also provide improved revenue predictability and inventory management for both retailer and fulfillment operator alike.

However, while many of today’s consumer product warehouses are humming with mobile robots and automated storage retrieval systems, the task of kitting is typically still handled by humans who carefully select, place, and package different items from multiple sources into a single box.

Benefits of robotics for kitting

The advantages of using robots in kitting include:

  • Adaptability: machine-learning-enabled robots learn and adapt to new SKUs in real time on the job.
  • Precise placement: advanced sensing and vision allow the robot to place objects in a specific location within a box.
  • Flexibility: robots can be moved to another part of the warehouse as needs change.
  • Labor shortage relief: short staffing and high turnover are common problems in the warehouse. Robots can gear up on short notice for long hours to handle dips and spikes in demand.
  • Lower costs: robot-as-a-service (RaaS) contracts move the financial burden from costly upfront capital investment to manageable annual operating budgets. Depending on the situation, robot systems cost the same or less annually than a human worker when purchased through a RaaS contract.

Derik Pridmore, Osaro CEO, says: “Demand for subscription packages and kits is surging, but people are in short supply. And they can’t always work graveyard shifts on short notice during unpredictable surges in business. Our new kitting solution is ideal for e-commerce businesses and the 3PLs that serve them.

“Kitting requires precise picking and placing as well as speed. It also requires intelligence to adapt to the continually changing SKUs that comprise each kit. Osaro’s technology is a perfect fit.”

A key objective with kitting is to drive profitability and customer loyalty through subscription business by consistently delighting consumers with thoughtfully curated selections.

Consolidating product in kits also results in less packaging and weight, lowering shipping and materials costs, which allows retailers to keep up with relentless online price competition.

As a result, robots must be able to place goods in a certain location inside a box so that items will fit and the box can close correctly.

Osaro’s Robotic Kitting System is a purpose-built robotic solution capable of consistently identifying, picking, and precisely placing its component SKUs. It draws on its adaptive learning knowledge base to handle multiple product turnovers monthly as retailers change their offerings.

Unlike other automation products, Osaro’s robotic systems offer unmatched object recognition and manipulation that enables them to perform autonomously in kitting applications, delivering robust and efficient automation for a wide variety of industry cases.

Fulfillment centers, warehouses, and direct-to-consumer e-commerce centers can now streamline subscription order fulfillment by pairing Osaro’s sophisticated pick-and-place robotics with existing AMRs that deliver bins of goods and conveyors that move the kits downstream for labeling and shipping.

Osaro says its latest API for integration allows “easy interoperability”.

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