Boosted by smartphone penetration, India is the fastest-growing e-commerce market that is expected to reach US $200 Billion by 2026 as per a report by IEBF. E-commerce has altered the business landscape in India with a multitude of retailers venturing into online retailing and will only ramp up from here. Technology has a big role to play along with the consumer demand due to evolved taste and need for newer and trendier products from time to time. This growing consumer enthusiasm for online shopping has resulted in the countless number of people turning to e-commerce retailing or e-retailing as they refer it now. Even with this huge shift, the question remains how they can manage the unquenched consumer requirement without prolonging the order and the delivery duration. The rise in the e-tailing culture in Indiademands e-tailers to adopt better and newer technologies to enhance production, and take the e-commerce market by storm.
To skyrocket production, especially around the festive season and other periods of high demand, e-commerce brands can turn to the new helper – collaborative robots. Shaped to work alongside humans without the fencing that a traditional robot requires, collaborative robots, or ‘’cobots,’’ offer a smart, flexible,yet simple solution. Easy to deploy, cobots can transform an e-commerce brand’s warehouse as well as manufacturing unit drastically by ensuring the highest quality standards. Cobots can pitch in and take up tasks that are repetitive and monotonous, all while ensuring the utmost precision and helping workers move on from mundane tasks. Plus, the ease of programming means that no prior robot programming experience is required to operate cobots, allowing for people to program and re-program cobots for various uses.
The e-commerce market sees two major players: one includes single brand e-commerce players, whicheven handle the manufacturing of the goods they retail. The other type of e-commerce business act as an online retail outlet or a platform for other brands to sell on. Cobots offer tailor-made solutions to both these frameworks.
If deployed at a manufacturing plant, cobots can take care of manual labour involved in the manufacturing of the products. Humans, on the other hand, can engage in more interesting tasks that require intelligence and mental efforts. For example, a cobot can be paired with a vision system to scan a product’s quality, while humans can analyzewhether the standards have been met, and accordingly accept or reject the final product.
Alternatively, at an online marketplace,cobots can step in to expedite e-commerce distribution and orderfulfilment. In giant e-commerce warehouses, collaborative robots can be put to work in multiple areas, increasing efficiency by handling tasks such as box erection, packaging, palletizing, labelling, barcode scanning, and much more. They can even be mounted on autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) to travel around the warehouse and pick up boxes.
Collaborative robots in India have proven their mettle in virtually every industry, ranging from automotive to FMCG. Businesses of all sizes – including MSMEs and SMEs – have deployed cobots for a multitude of applications, benefitting from its ability to enable safe and easy automation on the shop floor. As the e-commerce industry, too, grows at a rapid speed, it is imperative to supplement the growth with this new technology, enabling industry players to keep up with increasing market demands.
The article has been penned down by Pradeep David, General Manager, South Asia, Universal Robots