Takeoff’s ‘micro’ fulfilment centres feature logistics automation from KNAPP
Boston-area start-up, Takeoff Technologies, has a vision to transform the US grocery industry through the development of ‘micro’ fulfilment centres that feature logistics automation from KNAPP.
Instead of forming its own supermarket chain, Takeoff is selling its end-to-end technology platform to existing retailers as a value-added service and a new way to reach customers. KNAPP is providing automated fulfilment technology to Takeoff, with an exclusive agreement to develop the immediate in-store eGrocery channel.
The concept uses handling automation to assemble and deliver customer orders in micro fulfilment centres that are co-located at the supermarket level for immediate grocery pick-up. After the consumer places their order online, the order is prepared semi-automatically using KNAPP technology including an OSR Shuttle store that serves goods-to-person picking stations. The consumer then either picks up their groceries via a drive-through operation at the fulfilment centre or it is delivered to their home, all in less than two hours. Alternatively, Takeoff can provide automated lockers at locations that are more convenient for customers – such as convenience stores, drugstores or fast food restaurants.
By storing the range of a traditional supermarket vertically and removing the aisles, a 90% smaller footprint can be achieved, which drives down real estate costs dramatically. Energy and payroll costs are also reduced. The modular technology from KNAPP takes less space and yet offers high-speed access to all articles in order to prepare customer orders quickly.
KNAPP’s proven OSR ShuttleTM can process orders with over 99.9 per cent accuracy
At the heart of the fulfilment solution is KNAPP’s OSR Shuttle™, a proven automated storage and picking system that can process orders with over 99.9 per cent accuracy. The shuttle system for Takeoff has 22,000 storage locations within 3,500 square feet. The system can easily accommodate the inventory of a traditional supermarket, which means that Takeoff’s retail partners can offer the assortment that customers expect but using only one tenth of the space. Multiple temperature zones allow the handling of different kinds of articles including fresh produce and meat, packaged goods, delicatessen and health & beauty products. In combination with the Pick-it-Easy workstations, the powerful Streamline conveyor system and KiSoft WCS (KNAPP’s warehouse control system), 1200 order lines per hour can be processed.
KNAPP impressed the management of Takeoff Technologies with its proven OSR Shuttle technology, its expertise in single-item picking and its understanding of the requirements. “We believe that KNAPP is definitely the best partner for us,” commented José Vicente Aguerrevere, co-founder and CEO of Takeoff Technologies. “They understood right from the beginning the concept of replicability. We need a very reliable solution that we can deploy in every store in the neighbourhoods of America. We need a very simple design with low space requirements. We met with the leadership of KNAPP – here in America and in Austria – and from day one there was great chemistry and trust, which is very important for us in developing this new market. We have a very strong partnership for developing the immediate in-store grocery fulfilment channel.”
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