Ice cream: One of many reasons the cold chain is booming

Deborah Abrams Kaplan | December 20, 2017

Ice cream: One of many reasons the cold chain is booming
Ice cream and frozen pizza aren’t the first things that come to mind when thinking about the cold chain expansion. These food products have been around a long time a staple for college students, bachelors and parents in need of a quick meal (and treat). What changed is ice cream and frozen pizza are offered by internet retailer Amazon Fresh, as items that can be delivered to your home in good condition. And they’re Amazon Fresh’s top selling items, said Rachal Snider, vice president of customer supply chain at third party logistics company AFN and a former senior manager for the customer supply chain at Kraft Heinz, who worked with Amazon Fresh. These frozen products are a signal that “the need for temperature controlled distribution is getting closer and closer to the customer,” she said.For Amazon to grow the Fresh Direct and two-hour Amazon Prime Now delivery business, they need access to a cold chain network.

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Over the last several decades, business has become truly global. Though globalization has benefitted many organizations via the creation of new markets, it also has presented serious new challenges for supply chain executives who often struggle to achieve desired customer service, quality, cash, cost, responsiveness, and innovation standards.


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Collaborative warehouse bots are critical to e-commerce success, Shopify exec says

6 River Systems | September 16, 2020

A spike in e-commerce volumes driven by coronavirus travel restrictions may slow down after a safe vaccine is eventually found, but its impact on fulfillment automation processes is here to stay, according to a top executive at Shopify, an e-commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). As the pandemic prevented consumers from congregating in brick and mortar stores, so many of them turned to e-commerce shopping that the online retail sector experienced five years’ worth of growth in the past three months alone, Shopify’s chief technology officer, Jean-Michel Lemieux, said today. From less than 1% in 2000, the share of e-commerce retail sales as a percent of total retail sales rose to 5% in 2011 and 10% in 2018 before leaping above 16% during the second quarter of 2020, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. That curve may soon begin to flatten a bit, but the post-Covid “new normal” will feature e-commerce levels in the range of 20%, 30%, or even 40% of all retail, Lemieux said in remarks at Flow 2020, the annual user conference held by autonomous mobile robot (AMR) vendor 6 River Systems. Ottawa, Ontario-based Shopify acquired Waltham, Massachusetts-based 6 River in 2019 for $450 million in a bid to use its collaborative "Chuck" robots to boost fulfillment efficiency for warehouse staffers managing inventory for distribution. That deal looked at first like amazon.com's move to buy Kiva Systems Inc. in 2012 for $775 million, and then take the product off the market, keeping its robots for the sole use of Amazon’s own DCs. But Shopify was quick to say that it will continue selling 6 River’s Chuck bots to the entire logistics market, and Lemieux reiterated that stance today.

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6 River Systems upgrades its robotic fulfillment solution

6 River Systems | September 25, 2020

6 River Systems has made a series of enhancements to its robotic fulfillment solution. 6 River, part of e-commerce platform provider Shopify, revealed the upgrade during its second annual user conference, FLOW 2020. David Vallance, director of product at 6 River Systems, says: “We have developed a strategic product roadmap at 6RS to find and address the next level of efficiencies to help our customers meet ever-changing demand and drive value to their own customers. “We’ve grown from providing picking robots to supporting inbound to outbound tasks within the four walls of the warehouse. Our latest set of enhancements are another exciting step forward in the evolution of our company and our industry.” To provide more visibility into operations and increase efficiency, 6RS developed The Bridge, an overarching tool that connects the data from what’s happening on the ground in a physical warehouse operation to an intuitive cloud-based control center. This tool gives customers the ability to fine tune and control each aspect of their operation and optimize their warehouse to meet the unique needs of the business by leveraging the following features:

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Project Verte Deploys 6 River Systems Solutions in Atlanta Distribution Center

6 River Systems | September 25, 2020

6 River Systems (6RS) announced its deployment with Project Verte, a full circle e-commerce solution provider that helps brands grow and directly engage with customers. 6RS will support fulfillment activities at Project Verte’s distribution center (DC) in Atlanta, which fulfills orders for numerous retailers and brands. The Atlanta DC will also serve as 6 River Systems’ southeast hub for site tours, allowing fulfillment professionals in the Atlanta area to tour an active, high-volume warehouse powered by flexible automation solutions. Project Verte enables sellers to connect to every sales channel and seamlessly manage all aspects of a customer journey through a single seller platform. Their offering includes the Verte Seller Platform and the nationwide Verte Fulfillment Network that provides 2-day delivery. With Project Verte, brands can “sell anywhere and fulfill in every way while managing everything” with one platform that powers every element of a unified commerce customer journey. "Our deployment of 6 River Systems reflects our desire to collaborate with companies that share our vision of changing the world of fulfillment, logistics and e-commerce,” said Bob Klunk, COO, Project Verte. “Project Verte exists to enable brands to serve their own customers with an advanced and easy to use digital platform, and with the addition of 6 River Systems' collaborative robots in our warehouse, we are also able to guarantee SLA performance and a best in class experience." To better support Project Verte and its other 3PL, retailer and distributor partners, 6 River Systems recently expanded the software capabilities of its wall-to-wall fulfillment solution. The new capabilities have been designed to help senior-level warehouse operators further improve site management, gain more concrete business transparency across singular or multiple sites and accelerate their return on investment.

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Adoption of the Internet of Robotics Things Accelerates

6 River Systems | September 29, 2020

Adoption of smart robotics has accelerated this year, driving sophisticated automation in various environments. Introducing Internet of Things (IoT) functionality to robots isn’t new, however. In 2014, ABI Research introduced the concept of the Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT). The term described intelligent devices that can monitor events going on around them, integrate various sensor data types, use local and distributed intelligence to determine the best courses of action before manipulating or controlling physical objects. In September 2016, MarketsandMarkets released a report estimating that the IoRT market will be valued at approximately $21.44 billion by 2022, driven by adoption in the e-commerce industry. Connected robots can integrate with various technologies and offer a short payback period and ROI, the report noted.

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Spotlight

Over the last several decades, business has become truly global. Though globalization has benefitted many organizations via the creation of new markets, it also has presented serious new challenges for supply chain executives who often struggle to achieve desired customer service, quality, cash, cost, responsiveness, and innovation standards.

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