Product News: Zebra Technologies’ expanded Fetch Robotics Portfolio

Oct. 21, 2021
New solution promises to optimize fulfillment workflows and automate material transport.

Zebra Technologies Corporation introduced a picking solution aimed at helping businesses improve their fulfillment operations. The fulfillment solution consists of three new autonomous mobile robots (AMRs)— FlexShelf, FlexShelf Guide, and RollerTop Guide—and a new FetchCore fulfillment software package for order or batch picking. These new offerings extend Zebra’s position in automating and digitizing critical workflows in warehouses, distribution and fulfillment centers as order volumes increase, labor pools get more competitive and customer expectations continue to rise.

FetchCore enterprise-cloud software enables companies to quickly modify workflows on-demand for warehouse operations, Zebra notes. It enables the dynamic orchestration of labor and robots by integrating with leading warehouse management systems (WMS) and warehouse execution systems (WES) to optimize order, batch, case, and pallet picking workflows. FetchCore’s new fulfillment-software package incorporates warehouse annotation, wave management, a pick heatmap, advanced fulfillment analytics and forklift detection features. The warehouse-annotation feature superimposes the physical pick locations in a facility logically into FetchCore eliminating the need for QR codes and enabling AMRs to automatically adjust to re-slotting within a warehouse.

“Zebra’s fulfillment solution enables Manhattan Associates to combine an end-to-end, best-in-class fulfillment AMR solution with optimization capabilities inherent to our warehouse management system software,” said Jon Liberman, vice president of enterprise mobility at Manhattan Associates, a PartnerConnect Premier Solutions partner. “We are excited to provide a solution that increases the efficiency of each picking and case pick to pallet operations especially while many of our customers are experiencing challenges with a competitive labor pool, supply shortages, and smaller delivery windows.”

Powered by the enhanced fulfillment-software package in FetchCore, the three new AMRs expand upon Fetch’s existing case-picking capabilities while providing several unique advantages over existing  picking AMRs in the market. Fetch AMR’s can deliver up to three times increased productivity in fulfillment operations, Zebra claims, while total throughput in a facility is increased as a result of these new AMRs operating up to 50% faster than other fulfillment AMRs.

Built on the proven Fetch Freight100 platform, the FlexShelf and FlexShelf Guide provide flexible configurations for bin sizing and spacing, which expands the types of items that can be picked using AMRs. Both AMRs also reduce worker training time and increase picking accuracy by incorporating put-to-light and pick-side lighting, Zebra notes. 

All of these new AMRs can be purchased utilizing a capital or Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) model, depending upon customer preference. Deployments are fast and cost-effective because all Fetch AMRs operate on a facility’s existing Wi-Fi network with the option to use current handheld, voice and vision technologies capable of interfacing with FetchCore’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) in the cloud, said Zebra.

“In 2020, we introduced SmartSight as our first automation solution for front-of-store retail, and we welcomed Fetch and its broad portfolio of AMRs for material transport in logistics and manufacturing into the Zebra family just a few months ago,” said James Lawton, vice president and general manager of robotics automation, Zebra Technologies. “Our new comprehensive fulfillment solution brings together the best of both companies to help our retail, wholesale and third-party logistics (3PL) customers overcome the biggest challenges in their each and case picking workflows with automation that is truly intelligent.”