Fabric offers innovative robotic solutions ahead of Rosh Hashanah
The Israeli company promotes the usage of Micro-Fulfillment Centers (MFC) to ensure Israelis get their delivery in two hours or less.
By HAGAY HACOHEN
The Israeli hi-tech company Fabric saw a surge in demand for its robots due to COVID-19, as well as the Jewish holidays, as online purchases soared to 250% of their pre-coronavirus levels and a third type of robot was urgently needed in its Tel Aviv Micro-Fulfillment Center (MFC) to meet growing demands.“An MFC is located in a large city, where the end users are,” Fabric software development lead developer Asaf Kotzer told The Jerusalem Post. “This enables super-fast delivery. Our goal is to over-perform on that front. To deliver the order before the time the user expected it to arrive at.”The joy clients feel when they quickly get their order delivered to their homes in two hours or less, whether it be diapers or fresh vegetables, can be easily offset if they open the box and see that they accidentally got someone else’s order.“This is where robots can be useful,” Kotzer explained, “a small grocery store might have a human worker walking around with a list and packing a delivery, but a human can make a mistake. A robot won’t.”To cut down on waiting times, the future of such logistical services is connected to more automatization – but also more AI and even more social media.For example, during COVID-19, Walmart began to deliver purchases to parked clients as soon as they arrived at the parking lot to pick them up, nixing the need to enter the building.It’s likely that in the future, we will see large stores direct online shoppers to a vacant parking space as soon as they arrive to pick up their purchase. In an attempt to increase the joy of e-shopping, it’s possible that companies will attempt to attract users by offering “points” or to support the local community with some of its earnings.“Studies showed that in Israel, online food purchases reached double digit figures out of the total market,” Fabric business development manager Shirley Bachar told the Post, “and this will only get bigger and bigger. What we’re seeing is that once people get used to buying online, they continue to do so.” Meaning these holidays mark an important shift in how the nation shops.“One of the things that make our company unique,” she adds, “is that we have our feet on the ground. I have no problem offering work hours as a picker [the person who collects items from a box a robot delivers at an MFC], as we are all here to best serve our clients.”
Kotzer also does his hours as a picker to test how his solutions work in the real world.“To be honest I kind of like it,” he said. “In the future it will be harder to find human workers willing to take on this task so robots will not only be needed – they will make the work much more pleasant.”