An Invata robotic ASRS shuttle.

An Invata robotic ASRS shuttle.

Invata Intralogistics was officially formed in 2010, but its roots and the partnerships created by the company founders date back decades prior to the company’s inception.

When Invata came to market, it did so offering a unique value proposition:

To utilize innovative approaches in system strategy, design, technology, and software to provide customers with transformative automation solutions in the form of fully integrated, highly adaptable, and singularly supportable intralogistics systems.

The idea would require a whole new approach to the status quo in the U.S. intralogistics marketplace. It was an approach that would call for paradigm shifts in organizational structuring, problem solving, and the priorities common to companies that called the shots in the industry at the time:

Embrace Discipline

First, it would require bringing all the disciplines needed to provide and fully support game-changing intralogistics automation under one roof.

This had not been done before.

Cross-disciplined-intralogistics team

A cross-disciplined Invata team reviews system build-out.

Back then, the market was highly fragmented. It was at best trifurcated between material handling equipment (MHE) suppliers, WMS suppliers, and WCS suppliers. And more often than not, consultants were used to analyze a client’s data and design a system independently of the companies that would actually supply the system.

That meant that clients looking to build or enhance their distribution and fulfillment operations would often receive systems that were conceived and designed with limited knowledge of the operations side of the business and delivered through a patchwork of vendors with limited liability on the overall system performance. And that commonly left clients with the frustrating and often unsolvable challenge of trying to identify the root cause of their system’s underperformance after all the contractors had gone home.

So Invata’s first step was to create an organizational structure that would allow it to provide solutions for all a client needs versus just a portion of them.

Rethink Everything

Next, the Invata value proposition would require the Invata team to rethink everything it knew about distribution and fulfillment system designs, software, and support.

Invata rethinks fulfillment.

Throwing out all preconceptions, over the course of the next several years, Invata would seek new and innovative ways to eliminate inventory touches, increase order accuracy, enhance productivity, and decrease toilsome labor demand.

And while other industry players held fast to a dodge ball approach to systems support, Invata would use its reputation for comprehensive support of complex automation systems to expand its customer base.

In the process, Invata led the market in unveiling a number of innovative firsts:

2010: Invata was a pioneer in enhancing the performance of it’s WCS by not only expanding its capabilities to take on increasing responsibility in the warehouse, but also by standardizing the electrical engineering and programmable logic of the PLCs that play such a vital role in machine manipulation.

2011: Invata continued increasing its responsibility in the warehouse adding WM functionality to it core product. This was done to address the performance-inhibiting interfaces and integration issues between the static processing capabilities of WMS applications and dynamic processing capabilities of advanced WCS applications.

2012: Invata brought the first fully integrated WMS and WCS to market. This was the start of enabling automation systems to make fulfillment decisions based on real-time knowledge of not just order priorities, but the location of every piece of inventory within a system, the status of all warehouse resources, and the operational state of every machine control device.

2013: Invata began using advanced mathematical data analysis and modeling to both test and refine its system designs and empower machine learning capabilities, while also building out complete software simulation environments to be used in testing equipment performance prior to actual on-site installation.

2014: Invata introduced the first roaming ASRS shuttle system to the US market. This enabled clients to acquire a shuttle system tailored to their throughput rate and storage needs, rather than have clients conform their business to the predesigned shuttle products that were available in the US market.

2015: Invata unveiled the nation’s first truly waveless omnichannel fulfillment system. Simultaneously fulfilling orders for retail, wholesale and e-commerce channels on the same equipment, the system completely eliminates the conventional practices of manual batch picking, reserve inventory, re-slotting, and forward pick replenishment, and instead relies on a single stream of inventory and couples the order selection process with sorter induction, creating the highest speed goods-to-person stations in the industry.

2016: Invata was recognized by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals as a finalist in the 2016 Supply Chain Innovation Award™ competition for its innovations in optimizing omnichannel fulfillment.

Advance Technology

Finally, the Invata value proposition would require the company to provide a platform for the advancement of technology brought to market by intralogistics innovators.

Invata recognized early on that the revenue models of warehouse software providers were largely dependent on user license agreements. This meant there was little incentive to encourage emerging technology aimed at reducing labor demand. Fewer people working in warehouses translated to fewer user license agreements, which meant reduced revenues for the software companies of the industry.

As the gatekeepers to the companies trying to bring new technology to market, software providers were not only creating barriers to market entry for entrepreneurs, they were also creating roadblocks to clients seeking efficient ways to reduce labor demands through the use of new technology.

Recognizing this conflict of interest, the founders of Invata decided early on that Invata would assist tomorrow’s innovators wherever possible and be a company that would put solutions first by providing a platform for bringing emerging, innovative technologies to market.

A Disruptive Influence

Invata’s ardent client focus and cross-disciplined organizational structure has made both Invata’s customers and competition take notice.

Today, Invata is a formidable competitor in the intralogistics marketplace with a proven track record of successful large scale omnichannel distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, reverse logistics, and modernization projects under its belt with more in the planning phases.

Born of inquiry, analytics, and proof of concept testing, Invata systems have set the benchmark for performance, while successfully closing the gaps in technology and accountability that previously plagued the industry. Harnessing advanced automation technology through algorithmic-rich intralogistics software and controls, Invata systems are known for their:

  • Integration of WMS, WCS, WES, LMS, & TMS into a single control system that offers truly waveless order fulfillment.
  • System-wide visibility and monitoring.
  • Real-time systems analysis and optimization.
  • Millisecond decision execution capabilities.
  • Dynamic deployment of in-motion resources.
  • The use of algorithmic calculation for performance optimization.
  • Universal systems support and accountability.
  • Innovative, multi-purpose approach to the employment of technology.
  • Database design rigor that enables the highest transactional capacities in the industry.
  • Elegantly engineered equipment control systems.
  • Strict standards for seamless systems integration.
  • Analytical learning capabilities that enable evolution of Invata systems over time.

 

Invata’s impact on the marketplace since its inception has been a disruptive one that has set the standard for a business model many are now attempting to emulate as more WMS & WCS software providers expand their functional capabilities and more MHE manufacturers acquire software providers in hopes of offering solutions as comprehensive as those offered by Invata.

But the Invata model will continue to evolve.

A Future of Innovation

Invata team members ready an Invata designed, built, and controlled omni-channel fulfillment center

Invata team members ready an omni-channel fulfillment center.

Innovation is embedded in Invata’s DNA — and it will continue to direct the company’s path forward.

At the forefront of that innovation will be Invata’s dedication to Intralogistics Science as the driver of nearly all decisions made in the pursuit of our client solutions.

From pre-concept to proof of concept, and from operational optimization to continuous improvement over the lifecycle of the system, Invata will continue to use the intelligence derived from the data sciences of analytics, modeling, emulation, simulation, and optimization to empower our system design, system performance, and system improvement processes.

At the same time, Invata will continue to develop Intralogistics Software that will not only deliver the full range of functionality needed to address all warehouse automation and processing challenges, but will also log the critical transactional and event related data needed to enable Invata’s Intralogistics Science effort and empower machine learning.

And, as a company that believes in organizational awareness, Invata will also use data derived from its systems as well as input from the Internet of Things as a proverbial mirror to objectively expose and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of all the systems it builds — so that it can constantly improve its industry offerings and evolve as an organization.

Benchmarking used for continuos improvement of intralogistics systems.

In the process, the Invata team will continue to bring new and disruptive technologies to market, while pioneering new methods for optimizing the efficiency of the fulfillment process.

The Invata team will do this, because at the end of the day, despite all the disciplines Invata employees bring to the table, they know they have but one collective function: to shave milliseconds from the multitude of processes and subsystems that make up a single distribution or fulfillment system.

The Invata team knows this, because experience in the field has shown them that the number of milliseconds it takes a system to perform transactions, execute decisions, or realize machine responses can make or break systems performance — and that in the field of intralogistics, it’s milliseconds that matter.

This is the reasoning behind the Invata motto:

Life is short. Don’t waste a millisecond.

Which is to say, we believe that the key to success in automation, as in life, is to make every millisecond count.

 

Invata high-speed ASRS shuttle

An Invata ASRS robotic shuttle speeds inventory to its destination.

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