Fulfillment Automation and Reduced Labor Costs

| Brian Barry

In 2021, will order demand continue at the same volume? How will it change? And how will it impact my labor demand? For many multichannel companies, this means moving toward fulfillment automation in order to decrease the amount of labor and its increasing costs. Here are 2 scenarios where automation was cost justified.

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Ahold Delhaize Steps Up Automation Efforts

| Mike O'Brien

Ahold Delhaize, the Netherlands-based grocery conglomerate that owns Stop & Shop, Giant and other U.S. chains, plans to pilot micro-fulfillment technology at one of Giant’s fulfillment centers in Philadelphia as it competes with Kroger’s e-fulfillment model using tech partner Ocado.

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Walmart Expands Store-Based Grocery Fulfillment Automation

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart is taking another huge leap forward in its attempt to dominate grocery sales, launching an aggressive plan to increase the number of stores using micro fulfillment via automation and robotics to speed orders to local customers as it builds on the digital legacy of the departing Marc Lore. Dozens of such locations are planned.

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10 Ecommerce Fulfillment Trends to Pursue in 2021

| Perry Belcastro

The past year has redefined how Americans shop. Ecommerce, BOPIS and curbside are table stakes, and free shipping is expected. What exactly does that mean for ecommerce fulfillment operations? Now more than ever, they must be strategic, sophisticated and responsive. Here are 10 key areas to pursue in 2021.

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Do You Need Robots Now in Your Ecommerce FC?

| James Beale

We’re at a tipping point where automation is about to be a mainstream focus of ecommerce fulfillment centers. But while automation may be a sensible investment for bigger players like Amazon, that doesn’t mean it will scale effectively to smaller operations. So, are fully automated facilities really the future, and if so, what will it look like?

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Kroger Launches New Online Marketplace, Adds 50,000 Items

| Mike O'Brien

Kroger plans to launch a marketplace this fall through a partnership with French platform provider Mirakl, adding 50,000 items from sellers initially to its assortment, including toys and household goods in addition to specialty foods, international foods and natural and organic items. The marketplace is an expansion of Kroger Ship.

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FedEx Express Adds Robotic Arms to Help Handle Ecommerce Surge

| Mike O'Brien

This month, FedEx Express installed four robotic arms inside a sortation hub in its hometown of Memphis, in response to demands placed on its services in the midst of the massive pandemic-influenced surge in ecommerce orders. Yaskawa America supplied the robotic arms and Plus One provided the software system.

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Locus Robotics Raises $40 Million in New Funding Round

| Mike O'Brien

Locus Robotics, makers of autonomous mobile robots for carriers and 3PLs like UPS, DHL, Ceva Logistics, Taylored Services and ShipMonk, has raised more than $40 million in a Series D funding led Zebra Ventures, along with existing investors like Scale Venture Partners.

What Industry 4.0 Means for Your Warehouse Operations

| James Beale

Widespread implementation of Industry 4.0 might be down the road, but the elements that underpin the concept are slowly being introduced to logistics and warehouse operations worldwide. The question is: What does this concept mean for me, and how can I prepare for this new industrial revolution? Here’s what you need to know.

Amazon Reportedly Using Hybrid MFC Approach in New Grocery Store

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is reportedly using a micro-fulfillment center solution from Dematic at its first grocery store not named Whole Foods outside Los Angeles, sending a loud signal to the rest of the market that an MFC capability is critical to success and maintaining market share in the red-hot e-grocery sector.