Gap accelerates rollout of warehouse robots to keep up with online demand

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Gap accelerates rollout of warehouse robots to keep up with online demand

By Dan Berthiaume - 06/08/2020

Gap Inc. is scaling its picking operation for online orders with a smart robotic solution. 

Faced with an unprecedented surge in online orders and significant workforce disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gap has added 73 units to its fleet of Sort piece-picking robots from Kindred. The specialty apparel retailer now has 106 Kindred Sort robots installed in its U.S. distribution centers.
 
Between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2020, the Kindred piece-picking robots completed more than 13 million unique picks of Gap merchandise. During that time frame, the robots facilitated an average sorting speed of 335 units per hour and maintained uptime at 99.8%.

Gap has already deployed 20 of the new Sort systems to its largest-volume distribution center in Columbus, Ohio, and 10 to a center near Nashville, Tenn., helping Gap Inc. to help meet the increasing demand for online orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sort piece-picking robots utilize AutoGrasp, a robotics intelligence platform that identifies and singulates items to pick and place into an automated putwall. AutoGrasp combines vision, grasping and manipulation algorithms to move clothing, poly bags and other small items. Kindred uses AI research and human-in-the-loop data methodology to continuously improve robot capabilities so that picking becomes smarter, faster and more accurate over time.

The retailer has been using Sort robotic piece-picking systems for secondary sortation points at its distribution centers in Tennessee, California, and New York since 2017. Once the additional systems are deployed, Gap will have paired Sort robotics with all the automated primary sortation systems in its distribution network.

“We’re pleased that our partnership with Kindred has grown from a test pilot to a full deployment of their Sort robots across our U.S. network – especially at a time when we’re trying to keep our employees safe,” said Kevin Kuntz, senior VP of global logistics fulfillment at Gap Inc. “We look forward to working together with Kindred on cutting-edge automation.”