More than four years passed from the time a Locus Robotics autonomous mobile robot made its first warehouse pick to when an AMR made the 100 millionth pick. On Thursday, the company announced that its AMRs have now surpassed 1 billion units picked, taking just 59 days for the latest 100 million.
“Reaching our 1 billion-pick milestone underscores the critical business value that Locus’ proven technology brings to our customers around the world, every day,” said Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics. “The need for cost-efficient robotics automation is a must-have as e-commerce volumes continue to increase and the labor shortages persist. Locus is proud to help our customers efficiently meet this challenge with robust, enterprise-scale automation solutions that position them for success today and in the future.”
The milestone pick was made at a home improvement retailer’s warehouse in Florida. The item was a cordless rotary tool kit.
Locus said its AMRs have now traveled more than 17 million miles in customer warehouses. Its solutions exist in more than 200 sites around the world with some locations hosting as many as 500 LocusBots.
Just last month, Locus announced global logistics provider Geodis would deploy 1,000 AMRs at facilities around the world. Geodis is currently using Locus AMRs in 14 facilities, helping fulfill orders for retail and consumer brands.
Current estimates have warehouse automation at between 5% and 10% of all global facilities. Retail companies dealing with the more labor-intensive e-commerce fulfillment operations are showing particular interest in automation technology. Statista reported the global warehouse automation market is expected to grow steadily to $30.15 billion by 2026. As recently as 2016, it was $9.95 billion.
“This latest milestone demonstrates both the incredible growth that Locus Robotics and the AMR industry have achieved and also proves the feasibility of retailers and logistics companies’ relying on robotic picking technology,” said Ash Sharma, senior research director at Interact Analysis. “One billion picks is an incredible milestone and is testament to Locus Robotics’ innovation and vision over the past few years.”
Locus Robotics works with customers in a robotics-as-a-service subscription model, making it easy for customers to add to or subtract from their robotic fleet without fear of a large capital investment. Its AMRs work collaboratively with humans to improve piece-handling productivity between two and three times, the company said.
At Home Delivery World in Philadelphia at the beginning of September, Jason Lum, sales executive for Locus Robotics, told the audience that Locus is turning data sets in the warehouse into actionable information.
“How do we make the associates in the warehouse more efficient?” Lum asked the audience, before explaining how the desire to get packages delivered in one day has driven the need for more information and efficiency. “You need to drive that information layer. When you think about robotics, it’s about [adding] that layer of BI [business intelligence].”
Lum went on to explain that the data collected inside warehouses is being used by on-the-floor operations to better deploy both humans and robots.
“That’s where the BI tools [shine]. I get to see the information quickly,” Lum said. “Our goal is to ensure that every piece of information … you can slice and dice. Do you want to see employee pick rates? We can do that.”