Fetch and VARGO Partner on New Warehouse Execution Systems (WES) Using Robots

October 30, 2020 by Alessandro Mascellino

Cloud robotics company, Fetch, and material-handling systems company VARGO, partner on a new solution to enable optimized robot picking in the warehouse.

The platform is designed for distribution centers to optimize order fulfillment in real-time by using the latest technologies. The agreement between these companies will be officially formalized shortly.


Combining Robotics and Warehouse Execution Software

Fetch Robotics is an intralogistics automation company based in Silicon Valley. The company has developed numerous solutions to enhance the cloud capabilities of its robotic platforms. Fetch Cloud, the firm’s flagship product provides on-demand automation solutions for material handling and inventory management.

VARGO, on the other hand, in an engineering team specialized in tailored fulfillment solutions. 

The company’s COFE (Continuous Order Fulfillment Engine) Warehouse Execution System (WES) has been deployed by several companies, including several well-known clothing brands.


The AMR's from Fetch Robotics. Image courtesy of Fetch Robotics. 


The new solution announced by the two companies combines Fetch’s Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) with COFE’s capabilities to provide optimized piece, batch, and case picking workflows. Supported payloads are up to 1 1/2 tons for e-commerce, retail distribution, and omnichannel operations.


The COFE Warehouse Execution System

VARGO has been working on developing and improving technologies that form the foundations of COFE for more than 50 years. The COFE WES can control all processes inside a distribution center, ranging from material handling equipment to devices, people, and processes management.

According to VARGO, the platform’s “pull-based” fulfillment optimization would be 30% more efficient than sites managed by traditional “waved/push-based” warehouse management systems. COFE’s capabilities include real-time, system-directed labor balancing across multiple work zones, decision making based on current priorities and workload demands, and more.

This workflow intends to eliminate low productivity wave transition periods, maximizes continuous resource utilization, and levels processes by eliminating harmonic peaks and valleys behavior.


Optimizing Order Fulfillment Processes 

The new partnership between VARGO and Fetch Robotics aims to upgrade automation solutions to face e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put further stress under this industry due to mandatory social distancing between employees and the rapid growth of manufacturing needs, as many people are operating remotely. 

“Distribution centers today are under more pressure than ever before, both in terms of operational efficiency and worker safety,” mentioned Stefan Nusser, Fetch Robotics' Chief Product Officer.

To keep up with growing order volumes and an ongoing labor shortage, Nusser explained, distribution and fulfillment centers must embrace smarter technology to optimize operations. 


An infographic from VARGO Solutions with statistics on order fulfillment. Image courtesy of VARGO Solutions


“COFE’s history of providing system-wide pick optimization and orchestration across different workflows and types of automation equipment makes it a perfect complement to robot-assisted picking,” the CPO added. Commenting on the news, Bart J. Cera, president and COO of VARGO, confirmed Nusser’s opinions, defining the combination of VARGO and Fetch Robotics as a powerful and compelling fulfillment solution.

“We are excited about our company’s formal alignment with Fetch Robotics to deliver further industry-leading, robust and expansive solutions for the challenges that e-commerce and distribution operations face,” Cera concluded.