The rise of e-commerce and labor costs have seen the increased adoption of warehouse and logistics automation over the last few years. Driven by the need to manage high-velocity operations while meeting the increasing demands of digital commerce, it is clear that companies need to be more efficient.
This year, COVID-19 has put further pressure on businesses to move towards automation, which will play a starring role in the post-pandemic world of social distancing. It is particularly important to have technological tools such as AI, data assets and collaborative robots that seamlessly integrate across the entire supply chain, to allow companies to be more responsive to market changes and stay ahead of the competition.
The Vertex Partnership Group caught up Geek+ CEO and founder Yong ZHENG, to find out more about his company’s focus and its customer-centric approach towards expanding the use of automation and robotics in scalable and commercially viable solutions.
What is Geek+ about and what makes the company unique?
In a nutshell, we specialize in smart logistics, applying robotics and artificial intelligence technologies to create automated solutions for warehouse and factory operations. Our vision is to establish a fully automated and intelligent supply chain globally.
Geek+ wants to make logistics affordable, efficient and flexible for clients across industries such as apparel, retail, automotive, to electronics and pharmaceutical. We also want to help them realize a wider range of supply chain automation. Already, we have a solid customer base globally, including large retailers such as Decathlon, Walmart and Nike. One of our latest new projects is with Walmart in Chile to streamline its warehouse operations.
How does Geek+ work to improve logistic efficiencies for warehouse and manufacturing operators?
Rapidly changing market requirements have meant that warehouse and distribution industries have had to face many new challenges. There are pain points in three major aspects – rising labor costs, insufficient workforce in general and fluctuating volumes in production and trading in the retail space, enhanced by changing consumption habits and the rise of e-commerce.
This is where Geek+ can help, with automation robotics that reduces the dependency on labor and traditional, fixed automation equipment, and improves accuracy. delivering greater ROI. For example, in the delivery industry, business volume has increased with the rise of e-commerce and there is greater need for sorting efficiency. Based on the needs of express delivery and logistics clients, Geek+ has created a sorting robot system that is smart, flexible and avoids mistakes from traditional human sorting operations.
In 2019’s 11.11 shopping festival, we successfully deployed and completed large-scale scheduling of more than 4,000 robots across our smart warehouses in China, and processed a record 8 million orders in 72 hours. This is a fantastic validation of the strength of our Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) business model, and the flexibility of smart warehouses in managing peak periods, including the world's largest shopping festival.
This is just one example, we have various products and model systems that can work across existing warehouse processes to help operators.
Geek+ aims to solve different challenges for different industries - how do you ensure your solutions and products are up to date and comprehensive enough?
Geek+ puts the focus on our customers’ operations. We design and upgrade our solutions to help customers become more competitive and achieve their business goals. We focus on two main directions in our AI R&D on robotics and software in logistics. We also work on specific application scenarios in different industries, accumulating data to continuously improve robot and system capabilities through machine learning.
We believe technology and industry partnerships are the key to transforming the global supply chains - hence, we also work with other leaders in the fields of cloud computing, Internet of Things and robotics, to provide customers with integrated smart logistics solutions. For example, we partnered with Germany-based Bosch Rexroth, a leading supplier of drive and control technologies, to jointly develop software and hardware for Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), to create value-added solutions for Geek+ customers. We also work closely with the teams of Microsoft Azure to develop cloud based applications for AMRs.
Geek+ has won the 2020 RBR50 Robotics Innovation Award back in June 2020. What does this success mean to you and the company?
Winning the RBR50 Innovation award is a great honor, a celebration of the exceptional robotics products our R&D team has developed. And we are the only AMR Company to win this award two years in row, which shows our consistent drive for innovation. As a company that seeks to transform the global supply chain, we realize the importance of adopting an integrated and holistic approach every step of the way. This has, in turn, led to many of our biggest innovations such as Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS), the bin-to-person RoboShuttle System and creating the world’s first AMR Smart Factory with robots making robots.
We will continue to bring concrete value to our customers, building a new automated and smart supply chain of tomorrow with our technology and industry partners.
What are some of the latest initiatives/work at Geek+ you’re most excited about?
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Geek+ has decided to help address public health concerns by launching two new disinfection robots:
- Lavender, the Smart UV Disinfection Robot, executes quick, accurate, and automated sterilization using strong UV rays.
- Jasmin, the Smart Spray Disinfection Robot, executes swift, accurate and automated sterilization using liquid agents.
The disinfection market represents a new venture for Geek+, but we were able to quickly develop and release the new solutions based on our core technology. Both robots can be applied in a variety of spaces, from warehouses to offices, hospitals and more, to carry out regular and systemic disinfection that kills 99.99% of germs. Since they can be operated remotely, this mitigates the risk of infection of front-line medical professionals while freeing them up for other more critical tasks.
You recently raised a funding round. What’s next and what do you hope Geek+ will achieve in the next 3-5 years?
We are thankful for the confidence our investors have Geek+. We believe there are still plenty of innovative and commercial solutions to be explored for logistics robots and will be continuing our work on that front. Besides developing innovative AI applications to robotics and software in logistics, we will ramp up RaaS as an accessible business model for businesses. Importantly, we hope to expand our relationships with technology and logistics ecosystem partners, to lead the new digital supply chain.
If you would like to find out more about how Geek+ can help your organization with robotics and automation, reach out to us at: [email protected]
VERTICES | Q&A with Geek+
Vertex Holdings is pleased to introduce a new series – VERTICES – where we feature one of our portfolio companies from across the global Vertex network. In this inaugural issue, we speak with the CEO of Geek+ to find out more the use of automation and robotics in supply chain and logistics.