Global robotics and automation company Addverb, known as a pioneer in implementing state-of-the-art robotic and automation solutions across factories and warehouses. Addverb provides end to end automation solutions using a unique approach of 4D’s (discovery, design, develop and dedicate), i.e., discovering the right automation for a customer’s problem, designing the solution to manufacturing the product and project execution and dedicated after-sales support. During Covid pandemic, they invented a new Micro-Fulfillment Centers specifically dedicated for the e-grocery segment. While talking with Nitisha from Bisinfotech, Sangeet Kumar, CEO & Co-Founder, Addverb Technologies talks about its latest launch and upcoming inventions.
1. Please elaborate your new automated Micro-Fulfillment Centres and how it will be helpful for the Indian market?
Due to Covid19 scenario, as people are shifting towards more online shopping and home deliveries, so we have come up with its new automated Micro-Fulfillment Centers specifically dedicated for the e-grocery segment. The company through its innovative in-house solutions and robots is working towards making e-Grocery segment future ready. Micro Fulfillment Centers are the small-scale warehouse facilities, located inside the cities at strategic locations enabling a less than 2-hour delivery from the time; an order is placed till it gets delivered. Being on time every time, MFCs eliminates the complex web of last-mile delivery for the e-grocery retailer through its more efficiency in picking, packing and shipment services. We provide advanced robotics, picking & packing solutions to enable these mini-sized fulfilment centers to churn out 1000s of orders in smaller durations of time for the e-grocery customer using minimal space and manpower. With a robust micro-fulfillment strategy, we prepare you for the future of e-fulfillment trends in the Indian market.
2. How was the year 2019 in terms of business?
We clocked a revenue of INR 113 Crore in FY 2019-20 which was our fourth financial year since our inception. We have already reached an employee base of around 450 and have setup a world class manufacturing facility in Noida, where “Robots Make Robots”. We have opened offices in Mumbai, Pune & Bengaluru in India and in Singapore. We will soon expand our office in Europe depending on how the second wave turns out. In the next three years, we aim to generate revenue of INR 4000 cr & looking forward to penetrating the consumer industries such as education, hotels, and airports through another level of breakthrough solutions and expand our footprint globally.
3. What are the key focuses of Addverb? According to you, which sectors are the new drivers in the automation and robotic segment?
Egrocery and epharma are two of the sectors that are emerging lately across every nuke and corner of the country. These industries are attuning the customers for less than 2-hour delivery, 4-hour delivery at a negligible last mile delivery costs from customers’ end. To achieve this successfully, micro fulfilment centers are emerging inside the cities closer to customers locations. Micro fulfilment centers are small distribution centers powered with various advanced automation solutions such as AMRs, picking technologies, softwares etc. With the perfect combination of rigid & flexible automation solutions, Assverb designs lean and efficient MFCs; it has already proved its mettle in setting up a model distribution centers for one of the e-retail giants. In the coming few years, Addverb focuses on becoming the largest MFC solution provider for these 2 sectors. Along with them, hospitals, hotels and airports are the other sectors that Addverb is trying to get into with its advanced technological automation solutions.
4. During Covid-19 there was a huge economical breakdown. How Addverb coped up with such situations?
The biggest challenges covid-19 posed for the logistics & the intra-logistics sector are;
- from suppliers to then manufacturers and the final goods to customers.
- Shortage of labour–As most people left for the hometown, very less availability.
- Lack of strong contingency plan – many businesses have not been prepared to handle this unprecedented crisis and at this scale. Certain industries like essentials such as groceriesTransport- which was completely closed in all the 3 modes – sea, road, air; both domestic & international. This resulted in complete stopping of transport of raw materials, fmcg, medicines have seen a demand surge, and some other industries like entertainment, travel, luxury shopping etc took a worse hit.
- Reduced consumer spends– The uncertainty prevailed in the marketmade consumers spend averse except on the essentials & also as the economy came to a standstill, there is no availability of liquid cash in the market.
As mentioned, while some industries had an adverse blow due to the shutdown of the economy & the lockdown, some other industries flourished especially the groceries, f&b, Pharma & FMCG industries. To meet out the increased demand & the handicapped supply chain, automation has emerged as the leveling point & with-it various distribution concepts such as micro fulfillment centers arose. Till now, the concept of micro fulfillment centers was restricted to some of the advanced countries but now they are mushrooming in India. With a diverse range of automation product portfolio, we can design multiple solutions of micro fulfillment centers. Some of the major components that can fulfill the customer order fulfillment within an area of 2k to 10k sq.ft. and within 2 hours of order placement are Dynamo – our autonomous mobile robots, Quadron – our carton shuttle bots, Veloce – our multi-purpose vehicle, Box-it- our picking stations, and the web of smart conveyors.
Also, to successfully fight the pandemic and assist the frontline warriors of Covid-19, we have designed and deployed Decimator – our disinfectant mobile robot across hospitals, and quarantine centers. This can be used across multiple public places such as shopping malls, airports, railways stations, schools.etc to disinfect with UV rays. With 50mj/cm2 UV light, it kills the virus/bacteria/fungai to 99.99% & helps in reducing the contraction of facility acquired infections by keeping the surroundings clean. With the natural navigation capability and the computer vision Decimator moves from place to place and sprays UV rays in 360 degree.
5. Please share your vision and future strategies for upcoming fiscals?
The company aims to become the world leader in Material Handling Automation and for the mobile robotics segment and intends to make India the factory of the world and a hub of innovation for industry 4.0 technologies. In the next three years, we aim to generate a revenue of INR 4000 cr and are looking forward to penetrating the consumer industries such as education, hotels, and airports through another level of breakthrough solutions. We endeavor to setup one of most innovative and research-oriented company with a vision “To pioneer human-robot collaboration to touch human lives” and to deliver affordable and sustainable technological solutions to industries and businesses.
6. Apart from India, are you planning to reach any other market? If yes, then what will be your strategy to touch the overseas market?
In addition to setting up a strong footprint & transforming the Indian manufacturing sector, Addverb is rapidly expanding globally. It has already established offices across Netherlands and Singapore which serve as nodal offices for the European and South East Asian regions, respectively. Along with them, Addverb has acquired some renowned clients in Australia & Dubai, to make their warehouses into the most advanced warehouse technological facilities. The global strategy of Addverb is to partner with some of the local automation firms with similar synergies, acquire clients and then establish its physical presence. In partnerships, depending on the cluster the partner belongs to, it provides support at various levels, such as just product supplier, or overall solution implementation, or even providing after project support etc.
7. What are your expectations from the Government?
Biggest problem with the robotics manufacturing is the manufacturing/procuring of the small components. To procure these components from outside would increase the overall cost of the robot, hence indigenous manufacturing is the best solution.
To encourage this OEMs need to be provided with;
- Support & Funding from governments: Under Make in India initiative, though government is supporting the setting up of the manufacturing facilities in India, one has to cross a lot of legal and other regulations. The overall process can be smoothening, and the benefits can also be increased.
- Retraining current workforces and qualifying the next generation of workers: According to a recent study, the total number of jobs related to developing and deploying new technologies, i.e., automation-, IT-/ AI-, and robotics-related applications, may grow to 20 to 50 million globally by 2030 – and that as many as 375 million workers globally will have to master fresh skills as their current jobs evolve alongside the rise of automation, robotics, AI, and the capable machines thereby enabled. The talent with robotics-related capabilities is already a rather scarce resource, its scarcity will increase soon, fast, and significantly due to the projected dynamic rise of automation and robotics. So, government should come up with a strategic learning & upskilling plans.
- Infrastructural facilities: The required infrastructural facilities such as internet, roads, water, electricity and other necessities for the OEMs to set up facilities in tier-2,3 cities to make the robots available to SMBs as well as to increase the employment opportunities.
8. Major focus and roadmap for the year 2021?
Once restricted to the industrial sectors such as factories, warehouses and other manufacturing hubs, now they are performing a wide variety of functions and are much advanced with features such as sharp vision control techniques, advanced sensor mechanisms that enable human robot collaboration, and robust software interfaces that provide ease of use and flexibility. With robots being a part of daily operations in many sectors, the overall prospects for this industry are on the high growth end. The robotics market is expected to reach a value of $37 billion between 2019 and 2021, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) with an average growth rate of 21% each year. Logistics robots are expected to lead the way in terms of sales volumes, with approximately 485,000 units to be sold between 2019 and 2021, representing an average 18% increase each year.
With the commissioning of the state-of-the-art world class manufacturing facility in Noida, Addverb aims to become the world leader for the mobile robotics segment and intends to make India the factory of the world and a hub of innovation for industry 4.0 technologies. In the next year, we aim to generate revenue of INR 4000 cr & looking forward to penetrate the consumer industries such as education, hotels, and airports through another level of breakthrough solutions. The end goal is to pioneer human-robot collaboration to deliver affordable and sustainable technological solutions.