AutoStore yesterday launched PickUpPort its first public-facing port that lets consumers shop online and pick up their orders directly from the AutoStore System.
“It’s important for us to help retailers stay ahead in an ever-changing industry,” stated Carlos Fernández, chief product officer at AutoStore. “With the new PickUpPort, retailers can offer a hassle-free pick-up option in-store, and customers can see how robots pick, organize, and store items. When retailers adopt this technology, their customers get even more flexibility and freedom.”
Founded in 1996, AutoStore claimed that it is a pioneer in cube storage automation, “the densest order-fulfillment solution in existence.” The Nedre Vats, Norway-based company said it combines software and hardware with human abilities for the future of warehousing.
AutoStore has deployed more than 950 automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) in 45 countries in a range of industries. It has offices in Oslo, Norway, as well as the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore.
AutoStore PickUpPort designed for consumers
The AutoStore System consists of an aluminum grid, robots, bins, ports, and a controller. The stacked bins are arranged in a grid. Robots ride on rails along the top of the grid, retrieving bins as needed.
The bins are then delivered to a port, where warehouse operators are typically stationed to pick up or fill in products, tag, pack, and send them out. A controller acts as the brain behind the whole operation, said the company.
AutoStore said its PickUpPort does not require extensive implementation and training time. When a customer places an order and chooses in-store pickup, a controller function asks the AutoStore robot to pick the bins that contain the products.
The warehouse operator consolidates the order, and the order is stored in the AutoStore System. When the customer arrives at the store, a robot will bring the bin with the right products to the PickUpPort.
The technology has a user-friendly design, according to AutoStore. The company said it took multiple safety measures into account during development of the public-facing product. The PickUpPort is equipped with a warning label, safety bar, a damper, and stoppers.
“The PickUpPort is safe and easy to use,” said Fernández. “It’s always locked while waiting for the bin to arrive at the port, and a LED lamp signals when it’s ready to be opened. Safety is paramount at AutoStore.”
ASRS offers alternative to 'last mile' shipping
AutoStore said its new technology is a direct response to the evolving demand for greater efficiency in how customers receive products. “Adding public-facing ports to stores can drive additional in-store purchases and enable retailers to provide a frictionless omnichannel shopping experience for customers,” it said.
“We are constantly piloting and rolling out new technology,” said Fernández. “People want more flexibility, and the buy-online-pickup-in-store trend is quickly becoming an attractive alternative to last-mile delivery, since it’s simple, fast, and offers a lower carbon footprint.”
The PickUpPort is the fifth port module offered by AutoStore and will be available from Nov. 15.