On June 8 and 9, 2022, Deliver Event took place in Amsterdam. This event gave us the opportunity to meet and exchange with logistics solutions from all over the world.
In this context, I had the opportunity to exchange with Jan Heijblom, Sales Manager at GreyOrange. Jan and I were able to discuss various topics, such as automation and warehouse processes:
Can you introduce yourself and your background?
I am Jan Heijblom, I work with GreyOrange which is about robotics for logistics. I have a warehouse management background which is quite close to this business.
And can you tell us more about GreyOrange?
As I said, GreyOrange is about robotics for logistics, either in a warehouse or in a store. I’ll be honest with you, most of our customers are in a warehouse. We manufacture robots but are also a reseller of other robots. We currently have like 10 robots en the market (1 is manufactured by us).
In logistics, you can notice an increase of the robotization of more than one process step. It could be picking, packing or shipping.
The more steps you robotize, the larger the importance of software gets. Because if you pick at twice the rate, you want the packing process to be synchronized to avoid any form of disturbance. Then, you might need to adjust that transferring people from the picking process to the packing one, leaving only robots behind. This is why the software is so important. This is GreyOrange.
You talk about offering several robots and automation systems on the market. How do you adapt to the demands of your customers?
We almost always go on site and have a chat with the people in charge of the warehouse about where his issues are, where his challenges and pain are. Then, we try to figure out which of these robots would be the best applicable to solve the issues identified.
Sometimes they move to a B2B only model to adding a B2C flow. Your items are then stocked a bit differently. You then start a big project, where you go from larger pallet type of storage to pick storage for B2C orders.
Then, we introduce either one of the robotics solutions. It really depends on the setting: we do an interview, we go there, we talk with the employees working in the warehouse, and then we figure out what is the best for them.
You helped H&M with its deployment in the USA. Can you tell us more about this client case?
In only one site, the west coast one, we have 760 robots running. This is really huge. This is our showcase from a size perspective. This is exactly where the importance of the software plays a big role. You have to make sure that these robots don’t bump into each other and still run a decent job, give you a good throughput. 760 robots imply a completely different problematic.
Indeed, you need to have the perfect software. The platform used is the same as WhatsApp. It is really helping us handle large volumes of processes.
What were the challenges you faced during the sanitary situation of the last few years?
We had more demands. The effect was massive because it made a lot of people aware that they needed to buy online. Even in some countries where people are still used to prioritize traditional stores to shop. Indeed, you have to adapt and go shopping online.
COVID actually helped our customers with digital transformation.
What mistakes do you usually identify when visiting your customers?
I think many of our customers struggle with how to handle B2C. Many of our customers are used to work in a business-to-business flow. B2C implies a different distribution line, a different network. How do you do that? This is the challenge.
We are not the whole solution, they also need a different transportation model going from a B2B to a B2C model.
Did you identify logistics trends for the next five years?
What you’ll see more and more is that you not only go for one robotized solution, but for a few. This is where synchronization comes in. The trend is that you not only want to store them, but also pick them where they are sorted.
People will also tend to adopt completely robotized shipping, from picking to packing. It is already there, but not many companies do it. This is going to grow with time because this is a scalable solution. This is the beauty of robots, if you have the right software.
We are at the Deliver event in Amsterdam. How did the event go for you? Is it your first?
It is the second Deliver we attend. It was really good. I really liked it last year. This year is much better since I think, with COVID, everybody wants to go to a trade show and to be there.
Will you come to the next editions?
Yes, US and Europe, 100%.