Robotics-as-a-service solution launched for e-commerce

by MM&D Online Staff

Los Angeles, CaliforniainVia Robotics has brought what it claims is the world’s first “goods-to-box” robotics system to market.

The company’s GrabIt robot can lift items up to 30 lbs. and up to 24 inches wide, ranging in size from a deck of cards to a 24-pack of soda. It can also reach up to eight feet and work for 10 hours on a single battery charge.

Once a product is picked, a GrabIt can offload an item to its companion, TransIt, which can accumulate orders and zip them to an awaiting box to be shipped.

InVia Robotics is offering the system as a Robotics-as-a-Service business model. Customers pay monthly for each robot, which allows them to scale up or down to meet seasonal or fluctuating demand. If a robot malfunctions or requires an upgrade, inVia Robotics will swap it out to ensure downtime is minimized.

This approach to service robotics is already improving the warehouse operations of several large e-commerce providers. LD Products, one of the largest printer and office supplies companies, has automated what used to be manual processes and helped it overcome labour shortages and seasonality while scaling as its business grows.

“inVia Robotics gives us the edge to compete with some of the larger e-commerce companies,” said Aaron Leon, CEO and founder of LD Products.

GrabIt 5“Since we launched our inVia Robotics system, order accuracy has shot up through the roof. We also are processing a lot more orders with the same amount of people, so it has reduced our labour cost per order and increased customer satisfaction. Additionally, its Robotics as a Service model gives us cost certainty, as we know how much we’re going to pay per pick. We don’t need a huge capital expenditure to hit the ground running and the speed of deploying a new system will expedite how quickly we can open up a third fulfillment centre in the US.”

InVia says its Robotics Management System allows for workflow changes on the fly, working  alongside the company’s Robotics Operation Center, which notifies inVia Robotics of any issues that need to be addressed, to ensure that a robotic fleet is performing the right tasks and functioning properly at all times. 

The robotics system fits into existing workflows, without requiring companies to reconfigure their floors or change shelving. The robots integrate with warehouse management systems (WMS) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to use existing technology investments while adding functionality and adaptability to a changing environment at a low relative cost.

“E-commerce is booming, but retailers are struggling to keep up with consumer demand, due to rising price pressures, increasing expectations for faster delivery and a shortage of warehouse labour,” said Lior Elazary, CEO of inVia Robotics.

“For decades, the man-to-goods model reigned supreme, but now with robots in the warehouse, goods can autonomously navigate across warehouses to be sent to their final destinations quickly and cheaply. Robotics is the next evolution of automation and unlocking its benefits will enable more businesses to stay competitive, which will positively impact the industry and economy.”