Flipkart has deployed Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) at its Soukya sortation center in Bangalore to improve the efficiency at the back end of its supply chain network in view of the growing pressure on e-commerce companies in India, particularly during sales days.
The AGV setup includes more than 100 self-guided bots which can automatically sort and assign packages to the pin codes of the customer by identifying encoded information on each package. It can process up to 4,500 shipments in an hour and can be scaled up to 5 times with slight adjustments. The bots can move on their own, offer battery backup of 7 to 8 hours and can carry small packages from one location to another.
Flipkart claims, the AGVs will enhance the throughput from the existing facility without the need to expand space or increase the headcount. Their internal tests showed with 100 AGVs can improve process efficiency by 60%. This will allow them to redirect the manpower into other areas of the supply chain network.
Soukya facility employs around 1000 workers and processes lakhs of shipments on a daily basis. The setup will be operated by existing staff who will be trained to handle them internally.
Flipkart is also planning to build a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Robotics & Automation to encourage R&D and will partner with start-ups and universities to bolster it.
The online market in India has seen a robust growth and is expected to cross $84 billion by 2021, up from $24 billion in 2017, according to a February 2019 joint report by Deloitte India and Retail Association of India.