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Warehouses find ROI in AMRs

March 15, 2019 / Ben Ames

Third-party logistics provider (3PL) RK Logistics Group is scaling up its deployment of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), saying the bots will support the firm's time-critical warehousing and distribution operations while reducing worker fatigue and boosting recruitment efforts in a tight job market.Fremont, Calif.-based RK said Thursday it has completed testing and has deployed Fetch Robotics Inc.'s CartConnect units as part of its picking and kitting operations, using the AMRs to move employee-completed orders from assembly areas to shipping. The deployment of the new AMRs will drive additional efficiencies and productivity into fulfillment and shipping operations that support high-tech manufacturing clients, according to RK Logistics President Rock Magnan. "The real benefit of AMRs is that they relieve employees from tedious, low-value work, such as walking a cart full of items from order assembly areas to shipping, and then walking back," Magnan said in a release. "It improves the workplace experience for the employee, makes them more efficient, and frees up time for them to focus on more higher-value activity."That is a similar approach to an announcement made Thursday by the "fast fashion" retailer Tobi that it would deploy picker robots and a cloud-based Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) automation system from Los Angeles-based InVia Robotics. Those robots are intended to optimize operations at the firm's Reno, Nev., warehouse for handling e-commerce fulfillment, using automation to add efficiency and accuracy, boosting DC productivity and fulfillment without disrupting operations, Tobi said