There’s a long-standing debate in the world of logistics robotics. On one side stand the greenfield folk, who insist that the best possible experience is one built from the ground up, with these automated systems at its core. Brownfield proponents, on the other hand, point to the time and money required for a full rebuild. Many firms looking to automate their warehouses simply don’t have the resources to effectively start from scratch.
Most people ultimately land on some combination of these approaches. After all, no one size fits all. This morning, Nimble is announcing plans its own third-way compromise. It’s a method that lets companies effectively outsource their warehousing needs through fully automated third-party logistics (3PL) factories.
Founder and CEO Simon Kalouche says that Nimble’s new model wasn’t the goal when the pick and pack robotic automation firm launched in 2017. “It evolved as we learned about the industry,” he tells TechCrunch. “I’ve been in hundreds of warehouses now, and as I went to more and more, I learned that everyone’s automating almost all the pieces of the warehouse, but picking is still the hardest part. Until you automate picking, you need people in the warehouse. You need to make warehouses ergonomic, safe and OSHA compliant for people. When you automate the picking step, you remove all of those constraints.”