In the past several years, the grocery industry has undergone a fundamental shift in the way in which food retailers conduct business. The advent of e-commerce driven fulfillment models — such as click-and-collect and direct-to-consumer delivery — has forced traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to adopt omnichannel fulfillment strategies. At the same time, more consumers are not only embracing these new fulfillment channels, they are also demanding increasingly challenging service levels — where next- and even same-day pickup and/or delivery is the expectation.
For traditional retailers making this transition, fulfilling these new consumer expectations has proven both difficult and costly. Adding online order fulfillment to daily supermarket operations is labor-intensive and time-consuming — while fulfillment inefficiencies, inconsistencies and errors quickly can chip away at already slim profit margins. Meanwhile, the task of ensuring the most enjoyable in-store shopping experience for traditional customers is equally important. Consumer research shows that one bad shopping or service experience can permanently tarnish a customer’s opinion of a retailer — and potentially drive them to a competitor.
With all these competing complexities in play, retailers need proven fulfillment strategies and process improvement technologies to manage both traditional and online business models. Honeywell Intelligrated is committed to helping retailers achieve maximum productivity and accuracy in e-commerce fulfillment while ensuring optimal process efficiencies in meeting daily business priorities and operational tasks. We’re leveraging proven strategies and technologies to develop innovative solutions to modern food retail challenges.
Micro-fulfillment Center (MFC) solutions
Effectively meeting click-and-collect and/or direct-to-consumer delivery expectations requires grocers to adopt new fulfillment strategies. Depending on the size of your store, our small-footprint, high-density MFC solution can be installed within your storeroom or bolted onto your store via a small, stand-alone facility. The solution starts with proven AS/RS shuttle technology capable of storing up to 10,000 SKUs in three aisles — two aisles for dry goods and one designated for refrigerated items. The shuttle retrieves goods from the aisles and delivers them to manual GTP order consolidation stations. Once operators complete an order, totes are conveyed to the delivery area for customer pickup.
The solution also includes an autonomous mobile robot (AMR)-assisted manual picking station for fast-moving, high-velocity items and an option for grocers to integrate a walk-in freezer for frozen goods. Operators pick goods from these locations and place items into totes located on AMRs, which then deliver these SKUs to the appropriate GTP station for order consolidation. Advanced MFC software orchestrates the entire process for maximum throughput and efficiency.
MFC solutions from Honeywell Intelligrated can be tailored to meet a spectrum of fulfillment requirements — from 5,000 to 15,000 SKUs and within a 6,000 to 20,000 sq. ft. footprint — and can include any combination of ambient and refrigerated storage. Below is an example of a typical grocery micro-fulfillment center design specification:
- 10,000 SKUs
- 12,000 sq. ft.
- Up to 1,000 orders per day
- 4 GTP pick stations
- 15 lines per order
- Presentation hit rate = 1.1
- 15 operational picking hours per day
For a more automated MFC solution, high-density, cube-like storage structures combine the best of robotics and AS/RS technologies to reduce storage space by up to 85% — while increasing storage density 50% over shuttle-based solutions. This state-of-the-art solution provides fast, accurate robotic retrieval to ergonomic, GTP workstations and can achieve high throughput rates of up to 300 tote/bin presentations per hour, per workstation.
Guided Work for Retail
Retail leaders are implementing proven DC fulfillment strategies to deliver on shoppers’ expectations for optimal experiences, regardless of the channel — all while minimizing costs and maximizing the long-term benefits of e-commerce business models. Honeywell’s Guided Work for Retail is designed to help retailers succeed in this omnichannel environment by giving them the productivity tools they need to run their operations like mini DCs.
Built on well-established DC technology — Honeywell Voice — Guided Work for Retail is a robust fulfillment and productivity solution that can be applied across multiple in-store workflows. Grocers can leverage it for integrated, data-driven process efficiencies while strengthening customer loyalty and gaining a competitive edge. Voice-directed technology allows store associates to work eyes-free and hands-free as they accomplish a variety of tasks more accurately, efficiently and productively — while remaining available to assist customers as needed.
By replacing traditional, paper pick lists with voice-directed technology, retailers can improve picking productivity by 35%. A store that’s used to processing 20 click-and-collect orders per day by paper can pick 25 orders with Guided Work for Retail in the same time frame, increasing revenue by $1,000. Extrapolating that performance increase across a week, month and year enables a store to realize a significant increase in click-and-collect revenue.
The Guided Work for Retail solution can be applied across a range of store operations and workflows to drive process efficiencies and cost savings:
- Order fulfillment, such as in-store, click-and-collect picking and returns processing
- Store operations, including gap scanning, restocking, load-to-cart replenishment, stock counting, training, labor accountability, staffing and combined processes
- Compliance tasks like planogram auditing and annual stock counts