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Zebra Adds to Fulfillment Stripes With Fetch Robotics AMRs, Workflows

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This summer, Zebra Technologies acquired Fetch Robotics for $290 million in cash. The idea was that Fetch's robotics and automation systems would help Zebra accelerate its enterprise asset intelligence product development.

On Thursday, a batch of those offerings – three autonomous mobile robots (AMR) and a fulfillment software platform – were announced. Zebra (NASDAQ: ZBRA) introduced its FlexShelf, FlexShelf Guide, and RollerTop Guide products as well as a FetchCore fulfillment software package. Combined, the new products encompass a new fulfillment solution for picking operations.

"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," said Jon Liberman, vice president of enterprise mobility at Manhattan Associates. "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."

According to Zebra's Warehousing Vision Study, 77% of respondents said augmenting workers with technology is the best way to introduce automation in the warehouse. With labor-intensive e-commerce warehouse operations growing, more customers are looking at automation.

Related: Read: FourKites, Zebra team up on end-to-end visibility solution Read: Zebra Technologies to acquire warehouse automation firm Fetch Robotics

"AMRs that support manual picking operations in fulfillment centers are in incredibly high demand, as retailers and 3PLs struggle to keep up with their customers' demands," said Ash Sharma, senior research director at Interact Analysis. "Fetch Robotics, now part of Zebra Technologies has responded to this demand by developing an integrated fulfillment solution so that retailers and 3PLs can now not only streamline each picking operations but leverage the entire portfolio of Fetch AMRs to automate any manual workflow in fulfillment and distribution centers."

FetchCore is an enterprise cloud software package that allows companies to quickly modify workflows on demand. It integrates with warehouse management systems and warehouse executive systems to optimize order, batch, case, and pallet picking workflows. Among its features are warehouse annotation, wave management, a pick heat map, advanced fulfillment analytics, and forklift detection features.

The warehouse annotation feature superimposes the physical pick locations in a facility, eliminating the need for QR codes and enabling the AMRs to automatically adjust to reslotting of items within the warehouse.

Built on the Fetch's 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 incorporate put-to-light and pick-side lighting picking capabilities.

The RollerTop Guide AMR can integrate each picking workflow with existing fixed conveyance, sortation and automated storage and retrieval systems.

Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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