Exclusive Q&A: Newegg deploys picking robots in West Coast warehouse

Newegg Geek+ robot
Newegg recently deployed picking robots from Geek+ (Photo: Newegg).

Newegg Commerce Inc. is leveraging autonomous mobile robots (AMR) to streamline product picking in a California supply chain facility.

The global technology e-commerce retailer, which has been using artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance a variety of customer-facing features on its e-commerce site, recently deployed a Geek shelf-to-person mobile picking system that uses AMR technology in its Ontario, Calif., warehouse

The AMR system features dozens of Geek+ PS800 robots that operate within a designated area before lifting and carrying mobile shelves to workstations, where employees pick and scan products to prepare them for shipping to customers. The Geek+ system includes 24,360 storage locations for products within hundreds of shelves.

The P800 robots glide simultaneously on the floor throughout a designated area of the warehouse and move under racks. The robots’ routes and duties are assigned by the Geek+ software based on inbound customer orders.

Once parked underneath a rack, the robot lifts the rack and drives it to a warehouse employee several yards away so the employee can pick products. The robot can also rotate the rack to offer products from two opposite sides. Products are stored in racks based on both order frequency and compatibility.

Resembling a flat circular disc similar to a large robotic vacuum, the P800 robots travel along the floor at more than 3.5 miles per hour and can lift and move more than 2,200 pounds. Newegg says it has already seen improved employee safety and reduced injury and cost savings, among other benefits.

Newegg and Geek+ worked together to determine the AMR footprint in the warehouse and train Newegg employees to operate the system for picking. The system was fully implemented in about six weeks.

Q&A with Newegg senior manager of logistics

Chain Store Age recently spoke with Alvin Chin, senior manager of logistics for Newegg, about the company’s robotic warehouse automation program.

What made Newegg decide to implement warehouse robotics?

We saw an opportunity with warehouse robotics to increase efficiency and speed while lowering our costs. We also wanted to make better use of storage utilization with the new shelf-to-person system by storing commonly ordered items together on one shelf so it’s more efficient and a better use of space.

Lastly, warehouse robotics are becoming more prevalent in e-commerce distribution centers, so we had an opportunity to pursue innovative fulfillment services for our customers. This system was only recently deployed in our Ontario, Calif., warehouse so we’re optimistic about seeing the benefits. 

Why did you select Geek+?

When we saw the shelf-to-person robotics system that Geek+ recommended for Newegg, we were really impressed by how it can fulfill our needs for an autonomous mobile robotics solution.

How does the system work and what benefits do you receive?

The system uses robots that lift racks and take them to Newegg employees to pick products. After the products are picked, the robots return the racks to a storage area. The robots can all move simultaneously; they’re capable of rotating the racks so pickers can reach products on two opposite sides; and there are no collisions. It’s a really impressive and efficient system.

We also see a benefit for employee well-being. The Geek+ system we’re using requires less physical strain.

Are there future plans for warehouse robotics you can discuss?

We are optimistic in considering more robotics solutions at other warehouses that may help us increase our overall effectiveness in delivering customers’ orders.

Details on the Ontario warehouse

Opened in September 2021, the 240,000-square foot Ontario facility is one of the company’s seven warehouses. Newegg’s other distribution centers are in Eastvale and City of Industry, Calif.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Edison, N.J.; Atlanta, Ga.; and Richmond Hill, Ontario in Canada.

Founded in 2001 and based in the City of Industry, Calif., Newegg Commerce Inc. is a global online retailer for PC hardware, consumer electronics, gaming peripherals, home appliances, automotive and consumer technology.

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