Tokyo, Japan: India-based robotics startup Grey Orange Pte Ltd (“GreyOrange”) has signed a partnership agreement with Japanese e-commerce logistics provider GROUND Inc. Under the agreement, GROUND Inc will become an exclusive provider of the GreyOrange Butlers in Japan. In addition, GreyOrange has made a strategic investment in GROUND Inc. and will be appointing two representatives to sit on GROUND Inc’s board of directors.
Established by the former CEO Rakuten Logistics, Inc. and executive officer at Rakuten, Inc. Hiratomo Miyata, GROUND Inc. aims be at the forefront of “Intelligent Logistics” in Japan by incorporating cutting-edge robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to optimise warehouse operations. Former CEO and chairman of Sony Corporation, Nobuyuki Idei, is an advisor and shareholder to GROUND Inc.
“We see immense potential for the GreyOrange Butler in Japan, particularly in the e-commerce sector where the goods-to-person picking system is quickly gaining traction. As company, our ambition is to spearhead Japan’s leap into the intelligent logistics space and to move away from labour intensive logistics,” said Miyata.
Although the GreyOrange Butler was only introduced to the Japanese market last year, GROUND Inc. has already secured an order with Diamond Head Co., Ltd, a leading e-commerce service provider in the Japanese apparel industry. Deployment for a Butler site in Diamond Head is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2016.
“Japan is an important market for us as we expand internationally. It’s a huge growth market for warehouse automation due to high labour costs and an ageing demographic. As such, it is only natural that logistics companies or e-commerce platforms transition to a new model where order fulfillment in warehouses become data-driven and highly automated through a goods-to-man approach,” said James Chan, Vice President of International at GreyOrange.
GreyOrange’s entry into the Japanese market is yet another milestone for the company as it continues to expand internationally. Founded in Gurgaon, India in 2011, the robotics startup now has presence in 9 states in India and has conquered 90% of its conveyor sortation market. In 2015, it began its international expansion plans by establishing its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, and with a satellite office in Hong Kong.
“We were very impressed with the professionalism of GROUND Inc., and their depth of knowledge of warehouse automation. Going into Japan gives us the opportunity to test ourselves in an advanced market that is intimately familiar with robotics. Given the high degree of automation that already exists in Japan, this is a strategic move for us as we look to join the ranks of the established players globally,” said Samay Kohli, co-founder and CEO of GreyOrange.
GreyOrange is a robotics company specialising in warehouse automation solutions. It combines expertise in robotics and software engineering to solve operational inefficiencies in warehouses operated by third party logistics companies, or by companies with their in-house logistics functions. Founded in 2011 in Gurgaon, India, GreyOrange has grown from a two-man startup into a multinational company expanding rapidly across the Asia Pacific region, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. The company today has more than 350 employees, of which more than 200 work in research and development.
The Butler System is an advanced goods-to-person picking system which relies on mobile robots (the Butlers) to transport shelves to warehouse pickers. Powered by machine learning algorithms, the Butlers reduces the amount of time each worker spends walking around the warehouse picking items, and enables a pick rate of 360 items per hour per picker at minimum. As the system becomes familiarised with the order patterns of the warehouse, the pick rate can be increased up to 700 items per hour per picker.
GROUND Inc. is an e-commerce logistics technology provider which is pushing for the adoption of disruptive technologies in the logistics industry. Specifically, it aims to pioneer the adoption of “Intelligent Logistics”, which incorporates IT, robotics and cloud technologies into a single high-tech solution for supply chain optimisation. GROUND Inc. is founded by Hiratomo Miyata, formerly the executive officer of logistics business at Rakuten Inc. as well as CEO of Rakuten Logistics Inc., which was founded in 2010 to provide fulfillment services for the merchants who joined "Rakuten Ichiba”, the biggest e-marketplace in Japan. Together with his management team, Miyata envisions GROUND Inc to be an ally of any customer wishing to make the leap into next generation logistics.
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