Info-tech

Robotics powers festival sale impact on productivity for e-commerce brands

Jessu John | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 16, 2016

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Industrial automation solutions increase productivity across a range of sectors

Between Amazon’s ‘Great Indian Festival’, Snapdeal’s ‘Unbox Diwali’ and Flipkart’s ‘Big Billion Day’ sales, all eyes were on deals and wins earlier this month. However, what’s common for most brands executing large impact sales seasons is the need for operational efficiency. Falcon Autotech, an industrial automation solution provider in India, enables efficient fulfilment in the face of a surge of orders experienced by many online retailers during these high demand periods.

Vineet Baid, CEO, Falcon Autotech, explains, “It’s the warehouses or fulfilment centres that see 2 to 2.5 times the regular volumes for large festive sale periods.”

EFFICIENCY UNPLUGGED

On a normal day, machines aren’t operating to fulfil peak demand. But on a ‘peak day’, the same machines may operate for three whole shifts to meet demand. This could amount to 3-4 times the operational volumes. Leading e-commerce logistics player, Delhivery – a Falcon Autotech client – reportedly processes about 30,000 orders a day in non-sale periods. In sale periods, 70,000 orders are processed in a day. Falcon Autotech has achieved more than 700 installations in last five years alone. Its range of products include sorters, dimension & weight scanners, conveyor automation, packaging automation, parcel lockers, among others.

“The simplest product we offer, the Cubizon, can help a person do four times the work than he could without automation solutions. This means higher productivity per person which in turn leads to higher margins for companies,” Baid says.

While it is evident that productivity improvements come from reduced manual labour, it’s important to note that labour becomes difficult to manage at the scale e-commerce majors have to process orders in sale seasons. There’s the surge in orders, and not to forget, demanding customers to tackle. A variety of operational processes also heightens the need for industrial automation and robotics solutions.

Apart from online retail, Falcon Autotech serves clients in the logistics, warehousing, food and FMCG, pharmaceuticals and automobile sectors. Its clients include brands like Snapdeal, LG Electronics, Pepperfry, Delhivery, V Mart, Jabong, HUL, Godrej, and others.

COMPETENCE COMBOS

Leading logistics brand Blue Dart had a shipment processing capability of 20,000 packets a day from a centre. The company needed to reduce inefficiencies due to inaccurate manual sorting and service level agreements missed due to slow processing.

According to Falcon Autotech, automation enabled Blue Dart to process 50,000 packets using an area of 20,000 sq. ft. as opposed to 10,000 packets earlier using an area of 8,000 sq ft. Along with a 60 per cent reduction in manpower, automation lowered cases of misrouting and rework for the company.

Building industrial automation solutions requires an understanding of the supply chain domain as much as the ability to zero in on gaps that industrial automation can fill. Creating effective robotics or automation solutions for a given supply chain problem also involves a combination of skills like mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, embedded systems and software programming.

“Let’s take the example of a sorter - before finalising a sortation solution for a client, it’s important to understand the load patterns at the facility, the bar code types, size of parcels, space available, peak handling requirements and network set-up before finalising a solution. It’s after this that the technical team takes over,” shares Baid.

Falcon Autotech claims it enjoys a 50 per cent share in e-commerce and logistics automation. It’s already exporting its entry level products to countries in the Middle East, South East Asia and China, and is gearing up for its first international installation in Dubai next month.

Published on October 16, 2016
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