Lit Fung, Managing Director, Geek+
An affordable solution to the looming labour and space crises in Europe’s warehousing sector.
There have been big developments with automated warehouses in the UK and Germany, but in truth the majority of warehousing facilities across Europe are still manually operated with no supporting automation.
Europe’s legacy warehouses are characterised by forklifts driven by humans and warehouse staff scurrying around sorting items all day long, with step counts matching those of professional trekkers. European logistics companies are acutely aware of the need to jump on the automation bandwagon to meet exponentially growing demand coming from e-commerce and address the approaching labour shortage crisis – especially in Britain, where 12 per cent of warehousing personnel come from elsewhere in the EU – but often find the price tag of digitalising their operation prohibitive.
Beijing-based logistics and warehousing robotics developer start-up Geek+ has been rapidly expanding over the last couple of years. Having established itself on the Chinese market in its first three years, with a strong client portfolio including companies such as e-commerce giant Alibaba, the business is now setting its sights on global markets.
Thanks to Geek+’s smart picking and sorting warehousing solutions, enabled by AI and robotics, Chinese client Vipshop is able now to meet its customers’ increasing expectations for delivery times and get an edge over most of its competitors.
Encouraged by its rapid success at home and having identified an untapped demand in Europe for affordable, easy-to-implement and scalable automated warehousing solutions, Geek+ has recently gained a commercial foothold in the EU, by becoming the supplier of MW, a Polish third-party logistics company. The autonomous picking system created and installed by Geek+ empowered MW to recruit new, high-value clients by providing it with high-efficiency supply chains and improving customer service levels.
Geek+’s foray into the European market is to be followed by other projects in the region, such as one with a UK apparel brand, which will go live later this year following a promising proof-of-concept phase.
Geek+’s picking and sorting solutions not only help businesses remove the bottlenecks experienced in the logistics and warehousing sectors, but they also allow them to significantly cut down on implementation and payback time. Its M1000 robot and driverless forklift, with payloads of 1,000kg and 1.6 tons respectively, also have the potential to disrupt other industries where managing big loads is key.