fbpx

Tracking Robotics Co. Addverb’s Progress Post Reliance Acquisition

Since the steppingstone of the first manufacturing facility, Addverb Technologies, the global robotics company is bracing for its second manufacturing plant, in the heart of Greater Noida.With Reliance on-boarding as a strategic partner in 2022, Addverb has observed an exponential growth with expansion especially across industries like FMCG, E-commerce, and Logistics.

The robotics company aims to become a dollar billion company in the coming 5 years, and is establish a new state-of-the-art new manufacturing facility in Greater Noida to cater to the surged demands of Mobile Robots and Warehouse Automation Systems. The facility spread in an area of almost 15 acres, will have a capacity to produce 60,000 robots of varied categories per year.

Sangeet Kumar, CEO & Co-founder, Addverb also mentioned how the company has grown in the past 6 years and the strong presence it has in e-commerce and FCMG companies in India. In the short term, they’re targeting to seep into the pharma, electronics, automobile industries. In the long term, not only do they plan on becoming a billion dollar company, but also automate the healthcare sector and automate baggage handling in airports.

Key reasons behind the increased demand for piece picking robots: Sangeet Kumar, Addverb Technologies

E-commerce or online commerce is buying and selling of goods or services online – from the internet. The rise of internet over the recent years, has contributed a lot to the growth of the ECommerce industry. With this current era of digitisation, the e-commerce industry is expected to go through an exponential growth in the coming future.

According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, “India’s e-commerce sector is estimated to reach US $111 billion by 2024 and USD $200 billion by 2026. The rapid surge in the e-commerce industry has led to the industry giants to innovate their ways to meet customer expectations and deliver the ever-increasing orders on time. This is where the industry giants have switched towards automated
warehouses and adopted robotics solutions or picking technologies to meet the customer requirements.

For order fulfilment, piece-picking operations are the most time consuming and redundant. To utilise their workforce better, adoption of piece-picking technologies, like piece-picking cobots and Pick-toLight and Pick-by-Voice solutions are on the rise, which help the warehouse worked fulfil the picking operations faster and more accurately.
Piece-picking robots autonomously selects the each with the help of QR codes and moves the each to the order collection bin. Incorporating a piece-picking robots to E-commerce industry’s intralogistics ensures boosted productivity, high throughput, increased accuracy, and saves lot of time and cost.
Sangeet Kumar, CEO, Addverb Technologies also mentions the reasons behind the increased
demand of piece-picking robots.

Sangeet Kumar, CEO And Co-Founder, Addverb Technologies

Addverb Technologies, a global robotics company, based out of India, provides an array of warehouse automation solutions, combining fixed and flexible automation, using their wide portfolio of products like Mobile Robots, ASRS, Picking Technologies, and Enterprise Software including Warehouse Management Software.

Addverb has a four-pronged approach to provide solutions for the warehouse, which starts with discovering the customer’s requirements, designing a tailor-made automation solution that is adept for their intralogistics, delivering and executing the project timely, and providing dedicated support even after the project deployment.

In a conversation with Mr. Sangeet Kumar, CEO, Addverb Technologies he mentions how Addverb provides world-class automation solution backed on cutting-edge upcoming technologies like AI, ML, IIoT, etc. Talking about the key trends, he mentions how FMCG and F&B companies are switching to automated warehouses and distribution centres to fulfil customer requirement on time and futureproof their warehouses. He also mentioned how mobile robots like AMRs and AGVs, cloud-based warehouse management software and Internet of Things is going to shape the future of the robotics industry.

When asked about the company, Addverb Technologies, he mentions how the company has progressed over a mere span of 6 years, and how a strategic funding from the Fortune 500 conglomerate Reliance Industries, enabled them to expand into the global markets, and open a new
manufacturing facility which will be one of the world’s largest mobile robot manufacturing facilities.

The Future of Warehousing

The best way to predict the future is to create it 

This quote was said decades ago by Peter Drucker, the celebrated Austrian-American management consultant who laid the foundation of modern business corporations. Needless to mention, the quote holds true in today’s context more than ever. Ground-breaking innovations are constantly elevating consumers’ expectations, and if not ‘prediction’, but an ‘estimation’ of the future keeps a business ahead of the curve.  

While this is the growth reasoning for keeping an eye to the future; if done correctly, pre-emptive measures act as a cushion for your business to survive any troughs and crests in the supply chain ecosystem.  

The past few years riddled with frequent supply chain disruptions has taught the world about the importance of an agile and resilient supply chain. As a result, discussions about the future of supply chains and warehousing have come to the fore.  

Businesses are looking at warehousing technologies which can help them establish ‘Lights Out’ or ‘Dark Warehouses’, i.e., having autonomous operations without any human intervention at all. With this changing trend, it is plausible to assume that businesses which stay ahead of any similar challenges will experience multi-fold growth, while others will expose themselves to risks during the turbulent times. 

This article will discuss some key trends and innovations which are likely to shape a resilient future for warehousing. 

Human Robot Collaboration 

With the evolution of advanced automation technologies, humans and machines will closely work together for all warehouse operations. This is not entirely driven by the need for more efficient warehousing operations, but also by workforce issues faced by the world in recent times. The ongoing global great resignation, ageing population is several parts of the world, along with times of self-isolation, have all pointed towards the need for human engagement in warehouse functions which are mentally stimulating, ergonomically suitable, and can be performed remotely. Also, there is also a rising concern for safety as companies begin to stack pallets high up on the shelves. 

With the number of warehouses adopting robotics and automation every single year, robots will perform most of the heavy lifting in warehouses. Humans thereafter shall be limited to performing more supervisory, technical, or analytical tasks, which are complex and mentally stimulating.  

Present day automated warehouses have respective dedicated areas for human and robot movements. However, very soon a heterogeneous fleet of humans and robots shall be guided by a common software platform in the same space to collaborate with each other, without causing any interruption or safety concerns. For example, humans equipped with Augmented Reality (AR) devices shall be guided via the most optimal path to perform warehouse operations and troubleshooting any robot or system. Slowly the world is going to move towards more autonomous operations where human engagement on the warehouse floor shall be limited. 

 5G and Edge Computing 

Latency, limited bandwidth, network interruptions, and incapability to process rising data volumes, can cause bottlenecks for warehouse processes; and with the number of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) devices on the rise, the amount of data is only going to grow. To address these issues, warehouse automation is likely to reap the benefits of 5G network combined with Edge Computing architecture. 

5G is the latest high speed and ultra-low latency network, which is expected to boost several technologies from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) to Virtual Reality (VR), and more. As opposed to cloud-based and centralized data servers, Edge Computing architecture enables data storage and computing at a location closer to the data source. When combined with a network like 5G, vast amounts of data can be transmitted and computed almost instantaneously, ensuring real-time tracking and decision-making throughout warehouse operations. With real-time data, businesses can boost system maintenance, and provide better customer experience. As a result, any blind spots or down time shall be eliminated, therefore avoiding any loss of revenue. 

5G more particularly boosts the adoption of flexible forms of automation and lays a new paradigm for Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). In future, we are likely to see AMRs making some of the decision-making themselves, such as obstacle avoidance, path planning, navigation, and functional safety. On the other hand, other tasks can be offloaded for the edge server, such as fleet management and analytics, task allocation, etc. With this distribution of workload, it is believed that businesses will be able to derive the highest efficiencies and better consumer satisfaction. Better customer experience in a highly competitive environment, is likely to determine the future of businesses, as result not just increasing margins, but also driving revenues. 

Newer supply chain paradigms like MFCs and NFCs 

To tackle intense market competition and rising consumer expectations, businesses have taken their warehouses closer to the customers with Micro-Fulfilment Centres (MFCs) and Nano-Fulfilment Centres (NFCs).  

MFCs and NFCs are strategically located small-scale warehouses, which can quickly deliver products to customers. Traditional fulfilment from the mother-hub, is time-consuming and adds to the logistics costs of businesses. 

It is becoming an increasing trend to have MFCs and NFCs which are equipped with fully automated automation systems where companies can pick, pack and ship orders within few hours. AMRs which can quickly move products, and intelligent software which can predict consumer behaviour, form the backbone of these fulfilment centres. MFCs and NFCs occupy a very small floor space, and it is not unusual to find them in existing stores or small warehouses situated in a densely populated area. A network of MFCs and NFCs can give businesses a competitive edge in their industry.  

Autonomous Operations driving Commercial Growth through Supply Chains 

It is possible that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) may reach its saturation in a couple of years. Businesses have already made large capital expenditures into implementation of ERPs and automation of repetitive tasks, and this has been crucial in reducing their overheads and deriving better margins. However, the future is likely to witness more intelligent warehouse automation which will be capable of autonomous operations, ensuring that automation initiatives are directly linked to commercial goals.  

In a warehouse with autonomous operations, all processes like inwarding, storage, picking, sorting, packing, and dispatch are performed through Robots and other automated systems without any human intervention (Lights Out/Dark Warehouses). Most warehouses around the world have implemented some form of automation, and therefore will be looking for ‘interoperable automation systems’, where they don’t have to scrap their existing automation. In interoperable automation systems, robots, other automation systems, and software platforms, irrespective of their developer, seamlessly communicate with each other to execute warehouse operations. This means automation system providers will have to offer more hardware-agnostic software and software-agnostic hardware.  

With interoperability, warehouses will have increased level of safety, information traceability leading to advanced analytics, and ability to design flexible workflows according to changing business requirements. As a result, there will be no siloed software systems, lesser inefficiencies, lesser operational constraints, and reduced logistics and maintenance cost. 

With the boost that 5G and Edge Computing are likely to bring to Artificial Intelligence (AI), businesses are going to integrate siloed systems in their warehouses, delegate more complex tasks to intelligent automation, and automate tasks in sync with business objectives. The idea is going to be to capture real-time data, generate real-time analytics, and execute real-time decisions completely by robots and other automation systems. 

With continuous improvements in analytics, intelligent software of the warehouses will be able to analyse and predict customer behaviour and needs, therefore driving further profitability. Businesses will be looking at warehousing innovations for commercial growth, rather than only achieving operational efficiencies.  

How to find out if you are in the right workplace

At every phase of your career, it’s imperative you choose the right workplace, especially in the initial
stages of your career, as it will determine how you’ll grow your career. Satish Shukla, Co-founder &
CHRO, Addverb, shared the following ways to determine what would be a great place to work at for
you:

  • Meaningful work:
    The first step towards determining that a workplace is the right workplace for you by the
    kind of work you are doing. You should find meaning in your day-to-day activities, and they
    should not be just a set of instructions to execute and require a vast variety of skills.
  • Association:
    How you feel about your workplace plays a major role in determining your career path. If
    you feel associated with your colleagues, and believe in the values of your organisation,
    you’re more likely to go above and beyond in the quality of your work.
  • Autonomy:
    You get an opportunity to not just execute projects, but also the freedom and autonomy to
    take decisions for your work. You get to launch new initiatives and the budget and
    mentoring to support them at the right workplace.
  •  Appreciation:
    Your contribution will always be appreciated and a great place to work will always recognise
    or reward it.
  • Feedback & Learning:
    Upskilling is one of the most important aspects of your career path. If you get constant
    constructive feedback and open discussions on how to improve, you will know you’re in the
    right workplace

Getting your warehouse holiday-ready: How technology can help you ride the tide during the busiest time of the year

During every holiday season, businesses face the pressure to meet growing demands driven by e-commerce sales, which puts a strain on warehouses to keep up with overwhelming volumes of orders to process. The traditional method of hiring temporary seasonal workers can be difficult due to global labour scarcity and high operational cost involved. The article suggests that innovative technologies can provide a more sustainable and long-term solution for the challenges faced during peak holiday season.  

One possible solution is the implementation of warehouse robotics and automation solutions controlled and managed by software like Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Warehouse Execution Systems (WES), to meet the rise in demand and reduce dependency on labour. Automated solutions such as flexible sortation and order consolidation systems can handle a variety of products with speed and precision. Others like mobile robots or Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) like smart forklifts can navigate into the warehouse to ensure efficient and accurate material handling, while interacting with other systems, boosting productivity and helping to quickly fulfil orders.  

Another complementary way of coping with demand fluctuation is by using Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the context of warehousing, to get order projections for the season based on previous years’ trends and the current year’s performance. This can help warehouses prepare for peak seasons and manage inventory efficiently. 

These technologies increase efficiency, productivity, and accuracy while reducing the need for manual labour and minimizing the risk of errors. Additionally, with the integration of automation, warehouses can monitor and track inventory in real-time, allowing for better decision making and forecasting.  

Overall, during the holiday season, innovative technology can be a game-changer for intralogistics operations, allowing them to handle increased demand while maintaining high performance levels. 

The exciting future of warehouse automation in the Middle East

Given the growing popularity of the Middle East as a global hub, and the many ambitious projects being undertaken by countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the warehousing industry in the region is expected to grow at a fast pace. 

Warehouse automation companies in the Middle East are increasingly in demand, as businesses seek to improve efficiency of their supply chains and reduce operational costs. The use of automated warehouse solutions and robots such as Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) is rapidly growing, as they help to increase the speed and accuracy of intralogistics operations. To synchronise and control all these technologies inside a warehouse, companies are relying on robust software such as Warehouse Execution Systems (WES). AMRs can move around a warehouse independently, performing tasks such as picking and packing orders, and transporting goods, while WES is a software solution that can be used to manage the entire operation, from tracking inventory, and monitoring warehouse activities, to providing real-time reporting. 

The growing retail and e-commerce fulfilment in the region is also driving the need for automation and robotics solutions, as they look for ways to keep up with the growing demand for faster delivery and to address unexpected disruptions. One of them is to set up Micro Fulfilment Centers (MFCs), which are small automated warehouses located closer to the end customer, helping to reduce delivery times and operational costs. 

As the region focuses on smart cities and Industry 4.0, warehouse automation is becoming one of the top trends in the Middle East. This approach not only increases efficiency and productivity, but also improves employee well-being by relieving them from strenuous and repetitive tasks. With a growing focus on improving logistics and supply chain management, the Middle East is well positioned to continue investing in automation. 

Exploring Vertical Integration In The Supply Chain

In a vertical integration strategy, a business controls multiple stages of the supply chain involved in its production process. As a result, third-party dependencies are reduced. Vertical integration in the supply chain can range from a level of zero integration where an already finished product is purchased for on-selling, to a full integration where the business has no dependency on any third party for any of its production process at all. An example of a fully integrated model can be a robotics and automation solutions company which manufactures or controls the sourcing of all the robots, software, other automation systems, racking structures, etc. involved in deploying an automation solution, and has the capability to install and commission the automation solution as well. An example of a zero-integration business can be a channel partner who merely on-sells robots procured from a robot manufacturer. Vertical integration, among other benefits, ensures higher quality products and services for the end-customer, as it takes ownership of multiple stages of its production process in the supply chain.

As opposed to vertical integration, horizontal integration strategy involves acquisition of competitors or similar businesses for expanding market share. This adds an existing market share for the business for increased profitability at an accelerated pace.

Pieter Feenstra, CEO, Addverb EMEA: “All our automation solutions come from a single source”

Pieter Feenstra, CEO, Addverb EMEA (C) Roel Dijkstra Photography / Photo: Fred Libochant 

The market for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) is becoming increasingly crowded. One of the newest suppliers is India’s Addverb Technologies, which, under the leadership of Pieter Feenstra, aims to compete with traditional system integrators and the numerous AMR providers.  

Addverb Technologies made its debut in the Netherlands last month during the Logistica Next event at the Jaarbeurs. The Indian startup, founded in 2016, attracted a lot of attention with several autonomous robot systems combined with traditional shuttle and pick-to-light technologies.  

Gain Market Position 

During Logistica Next, it became clear that the system integrator has big plans. The startup wants to grow rapidly in the coming years with complete end-to-end warehouse solutions within the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Early this year, Addverb appointed Pieter Feenstra to manage the growth in this region in the coming years. Under the leadership of Feenstra, who gained a wealth of experience at system integrators Swisslog and Körber, the Indian company aims to capture a market position with its solutions in both the market of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and the traditional market of system integrators. 

 Pieter Feenstra: “As Addverb, we have to grow fast, because otherwise you will be undercut in this fighting market.” 

Showroom in Zoetermeer 

The first step in that growth ambition was recently made with the opening of an EMEA headquarters at the Dutch Tech Campus in Zoetermeer. Feenstra says: “The Netherlands is a good location for our European headquarters due to both the connections, the international character and the tax climate. I chose Addverb because of the combination of traditional and new products, but the fact that the headquarters is in the Netherlands was also attractive to me after many jobs outside the Netherlands.”  

Remarkably, Addverb is now located in a former Siemens building, where the company will convert a 300-square-meter former server room into a showroom that will be ready early next year. 

Quadron 

FMCG and E-Commerce Market 

Addverb’s goal is to achieve one billion dollars in revenue worldwide in five years. Feenstra says: “We have to grow fast, but that is necessary because otherwise you will be undercut in this fighting market. Half of that revenue comes from India itself and the other half is split of which 150 million comes from the EMEA region with the biggest markets being Germany, United Kingdom, the Middle East and the Northern European market with Benelux and Scandinavia as the main regions.” 

We have to grow fast, because otherwise you

  will be undercut in this fighting market.

In the EMEA region, the future Indian unicorn focuses mainly on projects in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), retail and e-commerce markets. “There we see most growth and we also have the most expertise and products for that. We have been active in the Netherlands for three months now and what we see here is that customers are particularly looking for automated solutions in retail and e-commerce.”  

According to Feenstra, the challenges lie particularly in the large volume of small orders and how this picking process can be automated. “In the Netherlands mainly medium-sized companies and companies from the logistics service sector are interested in our systems. For some of these companies many things are still new, but logistics service providers are usually well informed about the latest robot innovations and often want to start with something small and then expand it further. These aren’t immediately large investments of 50 million euros, but more like half a million to perhaps two million. That is easier to achieve with the mobile robot systems we offer than for example with a large shuttle system or mini load.” 

Wide Range

The supply of autonomous mobile robotics is currently very broad and due to the large number of providers, a true competitor market has arisen in that area in recent years. Feenstra sees a division between two competitors for Addverb: the established order with well-known system integrators, and AMR providers who are often limited to specific products. The latter do that very well, but if as a customer you need more than one type of product than it stops with these parties.”  

Everything in your own hands 

The established system integrators, despite being in the process of catching up, have a disadvantage compared to Addverb, because they are not yet as advanced with their mobile robot technology. Feenstra: “With most of them, this technology is still an afterthought. It is rising, but many traditional system integrators are in a startup phase or choose to form partnerships with other AMR specialists and therefore do not yet have the technology themselves.  

Mobile robot technology is neglected

  by most system integrators

In that area, we are profiling ourselves as the party that can deliver the same as the incumbents, but also offer autonomous mobile robot solutions from our own hands.” 

Differentiate with WMS 

Another aspect in which the Indian company is leading the way and wants to distinguish itself in the market is software development. Feenstra says, “For the development of our own warehouse management, warehouse control and fleet management system, we employ just under two hundred people. Especially in the area of WMS we know how to distinguish ourselves. We also want this in the future to be reflected in Gartner’s magic quadrant.  

The software drive is very

  strong within Addverb.”

Especially also to show that our WMS is not only intended to control our own systems, but that we can also sell this software as standalone. The software drive is very strong within Addverb. That makes us strong especially also in combination with both traditional material handling solutions and new robot automation that we supply ourselves.” 

According to Feenstra, Addverb’s distinctiveness lies in the fact that the focus is in finding solutions for customers using its own products rather than just offering one or two specific systems.  

Collaboration with Element Logic 

“In addition, we are looking for strategic partnerships with large companies that can cover markets or sectors that we as Addverb cannot serve. A recent example of this is Element Logic, the largest Autostore distributor in the world. This is a great match, because we don’t have this goods-to-man system while for some of our customers it fits perfectly in combination with our AMR solutions. Another good partner over time could also be a sorting conveyor supplier.”  

In five years Feenstra says the Indian company’s ambition is to achieve sales of around 150 million euros in the EMEA region, of which 30 to 40 million in the Benelux. “We won’t be the biggest by then but we’ll matter.”   

 

This post is based on the interview which was originally posted as an article on Logistiek.nl

Addverb to open 2nd robot factory in three months

Reliance Industries Ltd-backed robotics company Addverb Technologies will open its second manufacturing plant in the country in the next three months. 

The company makes fixed and flexible industrial robots. Fixed automated robots include automated storage and retrieval systems like pallet shuttles. Flexible robots include autonomous mobile robots and sorting robots where one can change the configuration anytime, and no fixed infrastructure is required as in the case of fixed robots. 

The company also plans to use the new unit to take some of the pressure off its current facility, which also serves as a software research, R&D and experience centre.  

“The new facility will be dedicated to large-scale industrial robot manufacturing, while the existing one will focus on specialized manufacturing.” Satish Shukla, co-founder, Addverb said.