The COVID-19 pandemic has sent shockwaves around the planet and continues to affect many aspects of our everyday lives. Amid the disruptions and uncertainties, however, and despite a retail and e-commerce slowdown caused by lockdowns and economic distress, a Research and Markets report identifies a burgeoning sector — noting the “strong order intake of warehouse automation” throughout 2020.
Leading Chinese autonomous mobile robot (AMR) manufacturer and AI research hub Quicktron is among the warehouse automation solution providers meeting this growing demand across a variety of industries.
Founded in 2014, Quicktron is headquartered in Shanghai, China. The company mainly focuses on providing advanced robot intelligent warehousing solutions, and its business expands from R&D, production, sales, project implementation, management and service of warehouse robots. By providing various types of AMRs and backstage operating systems for multiple models, devices and scenes, Quicktron enables enterprise customers to achieve intelligentization, automation and digitization for their internal logistics, helping them to reduce costs, increase efficiency and broaden capability boundaries.
The warehouse automation market is expected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of almost 14 percent between 2020 and 2026 and reach US$30 billion by 2026. Although warehouse automation adoption was already in progress before COVID-19, the pandemic boosted interest in the systems. The Research and Markets report says the strategy concerning warehouse automation has shifted from the “good to have” category to “must have.”
Last December, Quicktron completed a new C+ financing round led by KION Group, one of the world’s leading providers of industrial trucks and supply chain solutions; and Prosperity7 Ventures, the diversified growth fund of Aramco Ventures. Quicktron’s mission is to use indoor intelligent driving solutions to free human beings from manual handling. All the C+ round proceeds will be used for global market expansion and further technical development.
Quicktron’s CEO Wei Yang says, “We look forward to continuing to provide quality products built from a wealth of experience accumulated by serving more than 500 customers across more than 30 industries. In the future, Quicktron will expand from our current 15 markets to more than 100 countries. Within five years, we hope to achieve tens of billions in revenue, supporting partners in 1,000 industries, empowering 10,000 users, and shipping one hundred thousand units.”
Motivations for Quicktron’s Global Expansion — an Interview With CEO Wei Yang
In a recent interview, Wei Yang told Synced the COVID-19 pandemic has become an accelerator that is stimulating demand in many overseas markets. He used the European market as an example of the dramatic effects. The European retail sector had been mainly offline, and consumers lacked e-commerce consumption habits. In the current environment, consumers only have online shopping options, and many retailers have also switched to online. These factors, Yang says, created an opportunity to push automation in warehouses.
Yang says Quicktron’s ambition to expand into the global market has been made possible by three conditions.
- Favourable timing: The maturity and stability of the supply chain has ensured products from China’s leading AMR companies generally have robust performance, low price, and fast iteration. The development of 5G and autonomous driving in China has provided the entire industry with access to advanced technologies and reliable components.
- Favourable geographical conditions: The Chinese market has the most comprehensive AMR application cases, and Quicktron has accumulated rich experience in three major related scenarios: e-commerce, logistics and manufacturing.
- Favourable human conditions: Quicktron has an R&D team with more than six years of practical experience working under a very complete technical system. Additionally, each round of funding has introduced Quicktron to partners with huge and diverse scenarios and resources, including an A-round with BEST Inc., the leading integrated smart supply chain and logistics solutions provider; a B-round with Cainiao Logistics, the logistics arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba; and the recent C+ round with KION Group.
Sneak Peek at a Successful Remote Case in Miami, USA
This beauty products warehouse located in Miami, Florida, is responsible for handling both retail stores and online platforms. The automation project is connected to SAP (System Applications and Products) and powered by Quicktron’s RCS (part of Quicktron’s intelligent picking and sorting system solution) through a WES (warehouse execution system). The first phase of the project covered 2,000 square meters and included 20 AMRs. The project is being completely implemented remotely due to limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and successfully began operations in 2021.
- The picking stations adopt the customer’s existing PDA to transform through the Quicktron WES, which reduces the equipment purchase cost.
- The project logistics cover both online and B2B orders with three storage methods: whole pallet, whole box, and individual products. The same product can have different packaging specifications and different batches, and the operation interface can identify products using different packaging specifications.
- The project is fully implemented remotely, with docking completed through the WES and remote debugging and cross-language and cross-time zone cooperation with Quicktron launched via remote guidance.
- The tally area in the cargo section is increased, and the tally of different types of orders, collection and organization of ordered goods, and reservation of the shipping area for regular order boxes and pallets can be transformed into AMR scenarios in the future.
Yang told Synced that Quicktron has gained experience in recent years by providing diversified intelligent warehouse solutions for clients from various industries, and has deployed intelligent robot warehouse solutions in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Dubai, Czech Republic, Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere. He says Quicktron plans to launch “seven or eight offices” in the European and Asian markets in 2021.
Reporter: Fangyu Cai | Editor: Michael Sarazen
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