Imagine doing all the heavy lifting of order fulfillment quickly, efficiently and without breaking a sweat. That’s the case in one high-end retailer’s distribution center.
Recently featured on National Retail Federation Stores’ website, a mobile-robotic system is the innovative backbone of the order fulfillment process for a high-end retailer’s online division. Previously, distribution workers had to physically locate the items on the warehouse floor. But now, the mobile-robotic system finds the product and brings it to the employee, making the fulfillment process faster and more efficient. The system also handles inventory control, packing, shipping, sorting and other processes in the distribution workflow.
The company was taking a risk in the middle of the recession to invest in the robotic fulfillment system. But the retailer could see the growing consumer interest in online shopping, which made it essential that its warehouse operations could ensure rapid product fulfillment and delivery.
After implementing the mobile-robotic system, sales increased 21 percent from the same period last year. Customer satisfaction also increased because products were quickly shipped from the the warehouse.
Robotics make sense, especially in distribution centers. They’re more efficient, require less energy and are safer. Using robotics to pick orders makes it very efficient and reduces the amount of damaged goods.
It’s a considerable investment to switch to a robotics-enabled center. Using robotics requires a very sophisticated IT system. You have to have very skilled people to take care of the robotics system and make sure it’s being properly maintained.
Source: NRF Stores, April 2012