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Next has partnered with Geek+, a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for the logistics industry, to process 16,000 units a day for its ecommerce business – extending order cut-off times from 6pm to 10pm.

Over 250 of two types of Geek+ robots have been integrated together in Next’s Dearne Valley Pallet fulfilment centre. In the 45,000m2 of warehouse space, the AMRs handle both goods-to-person picking and order sorting processes for Next.

Liam Jenkinson, site manager at Next, said: “The flexibility offered by Geek+ is critical to our operations, and the integration between our Warehouse Management System and Geek+’s Robot Management System is seamless. We plan to replicate the success of this project in the extended warehouse as our business expands.”

Geek+ P800 robots retrieve pallets and move them to the storage area for picking. The robot transports the rack to a multifunctional workstation that is for the picking and sorting procedures. Once the picking is completed, the item was deposited onto the S20T sorting robot, which transfers it to the designated chute for depot.

With this solution, Next can process 16,000 units per day, twice the efficiency of manual picking, according to the company.

Brian Lee, VP of EMEA Region at Geek+, added: “We are proud to provide Next’s warehouse with our intelligent warehouse automation solutions. We are eager to replicate it in more warehouses across the UK, Europe, and around the globe.”

Geek+ added its scalable solution allowed Next to handle a record volume last Christmas season without additional labour and push the cut-off time from 6pm to 10pm while still meeting their next day delivery promise. To meet their growing demand, Next introduced 50 additional S20T robots earlier this year.