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Körber to roll out A/NZ’s largest deployment of autonomous robots

28 Sep 2020

Catch Group, part of the Wesfarmers Group, has partnered with Körber to deploy autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) at its distribution centre in Truganina, Victoria.

The project will see the leading online retailer roll out more than 100 autonomous mobile robots and is the largest AMR deployment of its kind for an e-commerce marketplace in Australia and New Zealand.

Acquired by Wesfarmers last year, Catch Group has recently added thousands of additional stock keeping units (SKUs) to its already extensive range of brands and products.

"Catch has experienced phenomenal success since its inception in the e-commerce market in Australia. With COVID-19 driving more consumers online, Catch is very well placed to meet this rise in demand and this investment ensures that we continue to increase and improve our product and service offering for our rapidly growing consumer base," says Catch Group fulfilment head Richard Whetton.

To meet the increase in Catch's product range, the online retailer has invested in the deployment of Körber's AMR solution, powered by global technology provider Geek+. 

The implementation consists of over 100 AMRs operating across 3785 sqm of allocated space within the 30,000 sqm facility. 

The robots will give Catch the capability to manage an additional 80,000 SKUs over and above its existing range.

"The AMRs will provide Catch with the ability to pick an additional 2,000 orders an hour. With its growing consumer base and the increased demand for timely and efficient delivery across Australia, this solution will play a crucial role in Catch being able to deliver the excellent customer experience the retailer is known for," says Körber supply chain software transformation head Rizan Mawzoon.

Set to go-live in November, the deployment of the AMR solution will take approximately three months and will help Catch Group accelerate its online fulfilment capabilities, moving a step closer to its overall aim of offering same-day delivery.

"We went through a rigorous process to find a solutions provider that could help us continue to deliver our fast fulfilment rates with this significant increase in SKUs. Körber has a wealth of experience in delivering this kind of automation, and we really loved their honest and practical approach," explains Catch Group fulfilment operations general manager David Matheson.

With COVID-19 driving e-commerce numbers to an all-time high in Australia, Catch Group reported a 68.7% increase in total sales for the second half of FY20. 

Even before COVID-19 supercharged online retail, Catch was heading on a steep growth trajectory and reported a 21.4% increase in sales growth in the first half of FY20.

"This investment is a significant step for Catch Group in its move to offer faster and more convenient fulfilment options for its increasing customer base. By adding thousands of SKUs to Catch's already extensive online store, we are providing Australian's with easy and convenient access to their much-loved high street brands. We are excited to see where this technology deployment takes us and to seek out further opportunities where we can utilise this kind of agile and flexible technology," adds Whetton.

Körber Supply Chain (formerly Cohesio Group) has previously partnered with Aussie-retailer Kmart, also part of the Wesfarmers Group, in the deployment of its Android Voice picking solutions.