The key challenges in grocery retail today are labour shortages, an ever-changing product range and severe pressure on margins. The solution is logistics automation, which offers the productivity, flexibility and scalability supermarkets need to fulfil orders for various channels in a way that creates competitive advantage.

KNAPP’s RUNPICK case-picking robot.

Store replenishment

KNAPP offers solutions for picking full containers or cases of product for store replenishment. The FAST (Fully Automated Standard Tray) solution handles full containers of fresh produce fully automatically from goods-in to goods-out, while RUNPICK is a robotic case-picking system. Both solutions are served by KNAPP’s OSR Shuttle™ Evo automated storage system and use the company’s advanced software to ensure load stability, shop-friendly delivery sequencing and packing density on pallets.

Online order fulfilment

When it comes to online grocery orders, KNAPP’s E-Grocer solutions cater for everything from central fulfilment centres (CFCs) for larger catchment areas to micro fulfilment centres (MFCs) for urban neighbourhoods.

The E-Grocer CFC solution combines manual and automatic processes, with KNAPP’s high-performance OSR Shuttle™ Evo used for storage and orders being fulfilled at its ergonomic Pick-it-Easy workstations. KNAPP delivers its E-Grocer MFC solutions in partnership with Takeoff Technologies. Together, they have supplied systems to leading grocers worldwide including Woolworths, Carrefour and Albertsons. MFCs combine efficient fulfilment with proximity to customers. An existing supermarket is equipped with an ASRS that serves a goods-to-person picking area. Direct connection to the store gives consumers access to the full product range and automation slashes fulfilment time for a 50-item order from an hour to around six minutes. Orders can be ready for pick up or delivery within 30 minutes. As a turnkey product, MFCs need as little as 13 weeks’ installation time and there is no increase in delivery routes for food suppliers.

AI-enabled robotic picking

The E-Grocer solutions can also incorporate KNAPP’s Pick-it-Easy Robot. Fulfilling customer orders with a high degree of accuracy, Pick-it-Easy Robot’s AI and intelligent sensors enable rapid self-teaching to recognize different packaging or features, determine the optimum grip point and handle various products gently. The solution, which is also available in a Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) model, can be deployed with minimal downtime and be operational within days.

In-store automation

KNAPP’s RetailCX in-store automation concept has been developed to enable a seamless omnichannel experience. Customers can use touch screens or mobile apps to browse products, select items, pay at an automated terminal and leave with their goods. KNAPP recently delivered a RetailCX 24/7/365 automated grocery vending solution with a range of 500 items in a convenience store in Germany.

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