Zalando’s logistics network is the ‘engine room’ of its operations, with 65 million orders delivered to its 22.2 million active customers in the first nine months of 2017 and a successful Black Friday on record in November 2017.
Zalando started its own logistics activities in 2011. Since then, the company has maintained its drive towards operational excellence: first with basic conveyor and sorting technology, then with leading goods-to-person technologies that deliver products to the right workstation for further handling. The move into robotics is a key next step.
Underlining its strong belief in next generation automation solutions, Zalando has acquired a minority stake in Munich-based robotics startup, Magazino; a leading player in intralogistics applications in e-commerce warehousing. The investment is part of a Series A funding round for the startup.
Magazino develops and builds perception-controlled, mobile robots in the field of intralogistics and employs the largest team in perception-driven robotics in Europe. A key focus in the development of Magazino robots is artificially-intelligent robot operating software. The software applies deep learning methodologies that enable the robots to adapt to changing environments and use their experiences to improve performance.
David Schröder, Senior Vice President Convenience at Zalando, said: “Logistics is one of our core competencies; driving customer satisfaction, the scalability of our business and efficiency of operations. We believe pairing passionate employees with cutting-edge technology leads to the best possible results in all three dimensions. Our investment in Magazino grants us access to a leading technology that is highly compatible with our existing infrastructure and can be deployed flexibly to support employees in our fulfilment centres.”
Equipped with 3D cameras and numerous sensors, Magazino robots like ‘TORU’ can stow and pick shoe boxes from shelves autonomously. Taking note of their immediate environment, Magazino robots operate safely alongside employees and support them with physically challenging tasks, such as picking items from the lowest or highest shelf. For Zalando and its team of more than 7,600 logistics employees, robotic solutions are a great supplement and allow us to further drive operational excellence in our fulfilment centres.