1MRobotics has developed modular fulfilment centres with tiny footprints
Spotted: According to a recent survey on US retail trends, three-quarters of city dwellers are willing to pay more for faster delivery. But fast delivery requires goods to be stored and sorted close to customers. Traditionally, companies have employed a network of ‘dark stores’ – distribution hubs focused on online shopping – in population centres. These enable quick delivery, but high city centre rents and staffing requirements limit their profitability.
Israeli startup 1MRobotics believes that automation is the solution to this problem. The company has developed ‘nano-fulfilment centres’ to offer automated packing for online delivery orders. These small-scale units can be mass-produced and located inside any retail space a company already has – from shopping centres and convenience stores to existing dark stores. They can even be deployed as standalone units in harder-to-reach urban locations like carparks and petrol stations. This allows companies to bring products closer to customers at a lower cost than today’s manually operated dark stores.
The 1MRobotics nano-platform is composed of robots that pack orders and an artificial intelligence (AI) system that monitors and tracks supply and demand patterns over time. The AI makes it possible to conduct rapid and efficient stock replenishment and optimise daily operations. The units are totally ‘lights out’ which means they are fully automated and require zero employees.
Written By: Lisa Magloff