DesignFuture Japan and Locus Robotics to deploy autonomous mobile robots in Japan

Collaboration in the “Material Bank® Japan” sample marketplace for order fulfillment of interior design, architectural, and construction materials

Locus Robotics has deployed innovative, ESG-friendly AMRs at more than 250 sites world-wide and has picked more than 1.3 billion items

WILMINGTON, Mass., Jan. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — DesignFuture Japan, the Japanese arm of Material Bank®the world’s largest marketplace for aggregating and sending out material samples, and Locus Robotics, the leader in Autonomous Mobile Robotics (AMR) for logistics and distribution warehouses, announced today that they will collaborate to deploy LocusBots at Material Bank® Japan in their distribution warehouse.

“The reason Material Bank(R) in the United States has grown into a service used by 100,000 designers in just three years is none other than the fact that it greatly contributed to streamlining operations related to sample requests,” said Tsuyoshi NakazawaCEO of DesignFuture Japan. “Survey results show that designers in the United States spend nearly 40% of their time requesting samples, but in interviews with Japanese designers, we hear that they spend more time than that. We believe that how quickly we can deliver samples is also important for resolving industry issues. Locus Robotics, which has built a strong partnership with Material Bank® in the United States, supports the rapid and efficient logistics that make this possible. We are very pleased to be able to start this demonstration project in Japan in collaboration with this company.”

The two companies will deploy 25 Locus AMRs, to the Material Bank® Japan distribution facility in Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture to deliver high productivity logistics and order fulfillment. This will improve both the working environment and sustainability through automation and streamlining of picking operations, as well as enhancing the customer experience for Material Bank® Japan users.

This is the first deployment for Locus in the Japanese market and the third country in the APAC region following recent deployments in singapore and Australia.

“Locus Robotics is proud to partner with DesignFuture Japan and Material Bank, sharing our commitment to bring highly effective, scalable and efficient robotics architectics solutions to enable designers and Japan,” said Rick FaulkCEO of Locus Robotics. “This partnership expands our existing US-based relationship with Material Bank, bringing our innovative technology to the Japanese region for the first time. We look forward to working together to deliver eco-friendly, cutting-edge robotics technology that will drive significant operational efficiency and productivity gains.”

Locus Robotics currently operates more than 10,000 AMRs at over 250 sites in the United States, Europeand Asia. In addition to Material Bank, Locus’s global customers include DHL Supply Chain, GEODIS, Radial, Ryder eCommerce, and VF Corporation. In 2022, the company achieved the industry-first milestone surpassing over 1.3 billion units picked. Locus averages more than three million units picked per day around the world.

Material Bank® Japan provides a material sample marketplace where designers and professionals engaged in interior design, architectural design, display design, etc. can quickly search for and order material samples from a variety of manufacturers on a single site and then receive samples in a single box as early as the next morning.

According to a survey by Material Bank® in the US, designers spend nearly 40% of their working hours searching for and ordering building materials. In addition, centralizing samples from multiple manufacturers in Japan will reduce the environmental impact of logistics by approximately 70%; with the reuse of samples that are returned reducing landfill and waste.

DesignFuture Japan has set the goal of reducing environmental impact in the Material Bank® Japan facility while providing a high level of service. It aims to achieve these goals through collaboration with Locus Robotics’ AMRs to not only improve worker productivity 2X vs. traditional fulfillment methods but with Locus’s ESG-friendly sustainability engineering. The LocusBots can have virtually unlimited lifespans, significantly lowering environmental impact.

Japan represents the world’s 4th largest ecommerce market and the need for flexible and scalable automation has dramatically increased to offset an aging population and a growing shortage of available labor. Locus is expanding into Japan with a proven track record of high productivity with Material Bank in the US with its proven, flexible, cost-effective, and scalable robotics automation solutions for the entire warehouse.

Role of LocusBots in Material Bank® Japan

Building material samples placed by designers through the Material Bank® Japan website are sent from the Material Bank Warehouse Management System (WMS) to the Locus solution. Locus optimizes the orders and sends them to the LocusBots which autonomously travel to each pick location in the 6,000 m2 distribution center. Workers, collaborating with the LocusBots, pick the specific samples and LocusBots then deliver them to the shipping facility for delivery to customers.

LocusBots are equipped with a highly flexible and configurable platform where the containers and shipping boxes samples are placed. Workers simply follow the LocusBots’ onscreen display information to pick the sample(s) from the appropriate shelves and place them into the designated box. This eliminates unproductive walking time and reduces worker fatigue. LocusBots can carry multiple orders (boxes) at the same time, significantly increasing worker productivity, speed, and order accuracy. The UI is also able to change to the worker’s preferred language, further helping to ensure order accuracy.

The Material Bank® US has grown to the scale of 100,000 users in just three years and their service has significantly contributed to enhanced efficiencies related to architectural and interior design sampling materials. In the US, designers spend almost 40% of their time researching samples of design products for their projects, while in Japanthis number is even higher.

About Material Bank® Japan

Material Bank® Japan is a building material sample marketplace for designers and building material manufacturers. With its multi-brand cross search and batch request system and established logistics facilities, Material Bank® Japan provides designers with a free and efficient way to order samples. In addition, it provides building material manufacturers with tools for direct communication with designers and information on projects when requesting samples, making it easier than ever for them to make proposals that meet their needs.

Material Bank® Japan’s original sample shipping trays are not only designed to maximize the quality of the building can also be used as a return box with sustainability in mind. In the US, designers request building materials from an average of four companies per sample request, so by replacing shipping from each manufacturer with bulk shipping from Material Bank® Japanthe number of items shipped can be reduced by approximately 75%, which is expected to reduce environmental impact.

About Material Bank® USA

MATERIAL TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION operates the world’s largest building materials sample marketplace. It was established and launched in 2019 based on the conception launched by Adam I Sandow, who runs SANDOW, an American media company that publishes magazines for interior designers, as one of the company’s businesses. The company’s unique system, which combines a multi-brand cross-search and bulk billing system with established logistics facilities, enables next-day delivery of orders placed before midnight to anywhere in the US In the three years since its establishment, it has grown to a scale of over 100,000 participating designers and 450 manufacturers handled.

About DesignFuture Japan Inc.

DesignFuture Japan is the operator of Material Bank® Japanthe Japanese version of the world’s largest sample marketplace, with the vision of “creating a technology infrastructure that connects designers and materials. Since the company’s establishment in 2021, we have been researching the market and determining how best to localize the service in order to make it easier for Japanese building materials manufacturers and Japanese architects and interior design professionals to use.The company name, DesignFuture Japan, reflects our desire to solve problems in the design industry and create a better future, starting with the Material Bank® Japan business.

About Locus Robotics

Locus Robotics’ revolutionary, multi-bot solution incorporates powerful and intelligent autonomous mobile robots that operate collaboratively with human workers to dramatically improve piece–handling, case-handling, and pallet-moving productivity 2X–3X, while optimizing labor and making efficient use of warehouse space. Locus helps retailers, 3PLs, and specialty warehouses efficiently meet and exceed the increasingly complex and demanding requirements of fulfillment environments. Easily integrating into large-scale new and existing warehouse infrastructures without disrupting workflows, Locus transforms productivity without transforming the warehouse.

Headquartered in Wilmington, MassachusettsLocus’s EMEA presence is centrally located in amsterdamwith APAC presence located in singapore.

In 2022 alone, Locus Robotics has won more than 17 industry awards, including being named to the Inc. 500 for the second year in a row and a 2022 IFOY Award for its Autonomous Mobile Robot Solution in the Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV/AMR) category.

Material Bank® is a trademark or registered trademark of Material Technologies Corporation

SOURCE Locus Robotics

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