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In Flipkart’s Big Box: how robots, cobots help choose and pack your package

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  • Walmart Supported Ecommerce Platform flip card operates huge fulfillment centers as storage facilities for its goods.
  • It has warehouses, fulfillment centers and delivery hubs spread across the country to ensure seamless operation of its business.
  • https://londonbusinessblog.com/ India is trying to decipher the complex supply chain that Flipkart relies on and its newly installed robotic machines.

E-commerce giant Flipkart uses hundreds of robots and cobots to improve its operations and ensure a smooth delivery experience right to your door.

The warehouses, fulfillment centers and delivery hubs scattered across the country ensure seamless operation of the business.

At the largest fulfillment center in India, located 50 kilometers from Kolkata in Haringhata, the facility uses new technologies such as automated storage and retrieval systems, robotic packaging arms, cross-belt sorters, a nine-kilometer network conveyor and automated guided vehicles.

Nearly 70% of these automation technologies deployed in Haringhata are built in India and it cuts Flipkart’s lead time by 35-50% in shipping.

“Using route optimizations and dynamic scheduling, Flipkart ensures reliable deliveries to customers while optimizing costs and resources in all eventualities, including supply chain disruptions,” Hemant Badri, senior vice president and head of supply chain, told Flipkart Group to https://londonbusinessblog.com/ India.

Using robots to speed up delivery

Before your order reaches your door, it goes through several stages in Flipkart’s fulfillment centers.

When you order a teddy bear from Flipkart – from unloading a package from different sellers to the center to shipping it to you – it goes through a long supply chain.

Incoming: Products from different sellers are unloaded at the fulfillment center and undergo quality control by employees.

Sort and retrieve: Products are sorted by an intelligent conveyor, put on the shelf according to their categories and picked up when an order is placed. For example, your teddy bear can be stored in a plush toy section, picked up when you place an order.

packaging: The teddy is then packed in a box according to the size. Not only people choose the right size, robot packaging makers also produce boxes and drop the packages with the product into a white courier bag. The robot is controlled by an engineer.

Shipments: The teddy bear then sits on a 9 km long cross-belt sorter, which allocates shipments according to different pin codes.

Outbound: Here your teddy bear undergoes a final quality check and it will be shipped according to your PIN code.

In Flipkart's Big Box: how robots, cobots help choose and pack your package

After the package reaches a delivery center, a machine called Allocation Engine takes over.

To explain the role of the machine, Badri said:[It] distributes goods across the many delivery models that provide the fastest time allocated to the consumer’s location.”

With an increasing demand for fast deliveries, Flipkart relies on Automated Beat Planner, which predicts the average arrival time. It also predicts any roadblocks that could cause delays.

“It predicts the retry time, filled with data-assisted buffers and roundings, to account for field anomalies in the execution of plans and prediction of inaccuracies in fast deliveries using technologies such as Automated Beat Planner (to track the route of the delivery person) and FLIP (to measure the address accuracy of the customer),” said Badri.

In India, Flipkart operates more than 80 facility centers, including 18 major equipment storage facilities and 21 grocery fulfillment centers. Three new big boxes or fulfillment centers will be added over the next three years.

Using solar energy to power robots

Flipkart’s newly added machines, which have greater efficiency, also require a huge amount of electricity to function. Walmart-backed Flipkart has installed solar panels that can power heavy machinery.

“We are running on solar energy for at least eight hours and 25-30% of the energy consumption we have saved so far,” said Prabhakr Kolla, VP, F&I at ekart, Flipkart.

The facility has a three megawatt solar power plant, and the platform aims to reach 40 megawatts across all facilities within a few years.

The process of commissioning a 2.75 megawatt rooftop solar power plant in Haringhata has also begun.

Badri said that with more storage space in the new center of Kolkata, coupled with automation, Flipkart’s productivity has increased by 15-20% ahead of the sale of their flagship Big Billion Days.

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