By: Jason Black
What’s in a name? Pickle Robot Co., despite its quirky title, is building some very serious tech to transform the package handling market, starting with palletization and de-palletization.
While this might sound like an oddly specific task — literally just stacking items on a pallet, or removing them — the larger package handling segment represents $11B of manual labor in the US alone ($20B globally) and it’s a segment that’s growing at 20% YoY. The growth is largely driven by a massive shift in delivery norms, which are rapidly transitioning from a pattern of monolithic shipments to brick and mortar stores to individualized packages delivered directly to consumer’s homes. Before, products produced in China, India, Germany, etc. would be loaded onto a pallet and arrive by pallet at a Walmart. Nowadays, those same pallets are shipped to US distribution centers where they’re unloaded, sorted, reloaded, and shipped to individual homes. Today’s loading and unloading operations are critical yet inefficient processes that lead to underutilized space on pallets or in trucks, all at a slow pace.
Pickle’s Dill robot (I know, I know, the names are too much!) can augment and, in the near future, replace dedicated loading and unloading labor, creating higher space utilization in trucks, higher throughput in distribution centers, manufacturing floors, and warehouses, and more cost-effective shipments.
Given the strong market forces surrounding them — major labor shortages, shifting international wages, increasing consumer expectations, the growth of e-commerce, and broad-based automation initiatives across industries — Pickle is uniquely positioned to usher in a new era of efficiency in the package handling industry in the US and abroad.