Integration platforms accelerate warehouse automation

cj logistics america, automation, amr, cj logistics

The flexibility and speed that have always been major keys to success in the logistics and supply chain industry have become even more important, as global pandemic disruptions and evolving consumer requirements and expectations challenge supply chains like never before and the demand for automation and robotics grows.

With an emphasis on the flexibility that has always been one of the company’s strengths and the speed that delivers the most value for customers, CJ Logistics is partnering with SVT Robotics on a software solution that orchestrates multiple technologies working together, even if they’re from different vendors, for the best overall total solution and faster integration times.

SVT Robotics’ “technology-agnostic” SOFTBOTTM Platform integrates enterprise software with automation, robot, IoT or human productivity tool, for any task, without requiring custom software code. SVT Robotics describes a SOFTBOT as “a microservice that represents an integration to either software or hardware, or an orchestration (business logic) that manages those technologies and ensures they work in concert.” SOFTBOTs can be built quickly and changed easily without reconstructing the rest of a system.

Quicker integration with software or hardware (SVT offers both new and pre-built integrations from a library of software and hardware partners) allows for the flexibility that enables CJ Logistics to switch out or adjust a solution to fit customer requirements. Solutions can be rapidly designed, integrated and deployed in weeks rather than the more traditional six to 12 months, and SOFTBOTs can readily be updated to keep up with business needs that are always evolving.

In one of the company’s Texas locations, the software is integrated with the WMS and has 10+ connector ports. These SOFTBOT integrations follow the site’s rules of dispatch, separating predetermined types of “automation eligible” work and assigning to multiple automation solutions simultaneously.

As one example, CJ Logistics provided workflow rules of a “happy path” and collaborated on decisions for exceptions based on time, product, location and travel distance. In another instance, when a ‘pick to light’ device solution CJ Logistics was using did not capture the lot code information required or provide an employee accountability link, the company was able to switch to a vision pick device within a week to capture the required information. The ease of deploying robots through the SOFTBOT Platform provides a fast and easy integration environment, allowing costs to be reduced by 30% and the speed of onboarding of new staff to be cut by 50%. 

Fully automated warehouses of the future will require building a platform of integrated solutions. As of yet, no one vendor or one technology has solved all of these solutions in today’s warehouse environment. “Each vendor has a unique development roadmap that provides a challenge in committing to one vendor,” said Laura Adams, CJ Logistics’ Vice President TES (Technology, Engineering, Systems & Solutions). “SOFTBOTs have provided us the flexibility to pivot toward vendors that provide more cost-effective solutions. The strategy to integrate the right solution in the right location based on today’s available technology will provide the platform for the future warehouse.”

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