Warehouse Automation: Different Strokes | FORTNA


Warehouse Automation: Different Strokes

When the next “black swan” event hits the world of logistics, Robert McKeel, CEO of FORTNA, tells Peter MacLeod of Logistics Business Magazine more about how companies can better prepare for disruption.

Rob McKeel, FORTNA CEO, speaks with Logistics Business Magazine and discusses FORTNA’s unique approach to best-fit solutions and how companies can better prepare for disruption.

Below are several excerpts from the article, Different Strokes, Logistics Business Magazine | September 2023.1


How is FORTNA’s approach different?

FORTNA leverages software, automation and robotics to ensure its customers are as future-ready and resilient as can be. Its focus is on capacity and capability, the former more so during COVID and the latter more so recently as challenges such as labor shortages continue to vex our industry.

“What FORTNA does – which I think is unique compared to our peers in the industry – is we don’t approach the customer with a technology solution, we approach the customer with an operations-based solution. If they have an operating problem – be that throughput, cost-per-pick, building out their eCommerce or omnichannel capabilities, SKU mix, or seasonality – we start there. We talk to them about the problem using their data and the forecast of their data and come up with an operating solution. Once we have the operating solution, then we look at the technology that would best fit that operating solution.”


Internal Capacity

That internal capability is focused on two key areas, with a third coming up fast on the rails. The first is software that helps orchestrate the complexity of a multi-vendor solution for the client. The software focuses on optimizing throughput and cost-per-pick using algorithms and learning. Secondly, FORTNA has a conveyance and sortation capability to help maximize execution from a supply chain perspective. And, thirdly, it is increasingly undertaking more integrations where it pulls in various robotic solutions to help overcome the problem.

“We work with our innovative robotic solutions and partner with top experts on a global scale and we design to match the best-fit robotic solution with the required application.”


Sustainability to the Fore

With a background in the energy sector, McKeel takes a strong interest in sustainability and optimal energy use and says FORTNA clients are concerned about this subject.

“We are having more conversations around how we can help them with their sustainability initiatives, how to reduce plastics in the retail environment in particular, how to reuse pallets. Obviously, we do a lot of work with LED lighting and the balance of energy used at the distribution centers.”

We spend a lot of our time and energy helping customers understand how they can deploy those [robotics and software] kinds of technologies to their advantage in their network, making the business cases for both robotic-based automation, and good software to help manage the complexity that comes with it.

Rob McKeel



FORTNA leverages automation, software and robotics to enable companies to outpace the demands of tomorrow. We are an end-to-end design-build firm, designing and delivering data-driven solutions to ensure process improvements, growth and, ultimately, profitability.