May 5, 2020
Recently I spoke with Anthony Lacavera, serial entrepreneur, investor, and Founder & Chairman of Globalive, about the past and future of artificial intelligence and robotics. We focused on fulfillment – how far the industry has come and how far it still must go. Having omnichannel flexibility – being able to access all inventory to fulfill any order, whether in store or online – is a must. We’ve seen in the wake of COVID-19-driven store shutdowns, companies that could easily flex to online order fulfillment thrived, while those that couldn’t struggled.
From the time we conceived GreyOrange, the fundamental ability to flex automated fulfillment to meet real time conditions has been at the heart of our system design. We built GreyMatter (our AI-driven software that works hand in hand with our Ranger robots in our Fulfillment Operating System) to process millions of data points simultaneously to make decisions about how robots, people, and inventory can be best utilized at any point in time.
Modern fulfillment can’t be handcuffed to SOPs set in stone; commerce is too fluid for everything to be neatly pre-planned. Instead, companies need smart and flexible systems that can intelligently decide the next best action against the backdrop of what’s really happening at any point in time.
Earlier, we enabled GreyMatter to ingest and process millions of data points, while launching and analyzing thousands of decision scenarios simultaneously. We’re now training GreyMatter to learn even faster, so customers can be what we call “5 minutes ahead.” In essence, we’re condensing the time it takes GreyMatter to observe what’s happening in the fulfillment center. By launching and analyzing scenarios of what might happen 5 minutes ahead, GreyMatter can detect patterns and predict what future interaction among people, robots, and inventory will generate the most valuable outcome.
While five minutes might sound small, in fulfillment it’s a long time. A lot happens in 5 minutes and staying ahead of that is a true advantage.