Raleigh, North Carolina-based Tompkins Robotics, a business unit of Tompkins International, has a new t-Sort solution designed specifically for micro-fulfillment operations. The new micro-fulfillment solution utilizes the company’s award-winning t-Sort autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to optimize operations in a store backroom, micro-fulfillment center (MFC) or dark store.
Retail stores – particularly grocery – were not designed to accommodate an influx of surrogate shoppers or buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) orders. The t-Sort micro-fulfillment solution optimizes operations by saving space, labor and cost while increasing speed and accuracy. The flexible, fully modular system fits in an existing backroom space and can process all types of products including ambient, fresh and frozen foods.
“As retailers race to deliver products in a tight timeframe and real estate continues to be costly and scarce in densely populated areas, micro-fulfillment models are becoming a popular trend,” said Mike Futch, president of Tompkins Robotics. “Our t-Sort system can be rapidly deployed in an existing location or a backroom at a fraction of the cost of traditional micro-fulfillment solutions using ASRS technology. This gives our customers options for stores where higher levels of automation are not realistic.”
For customers pursuing a micro-fulfillment strategy using automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) or goods-to-person AMR solutions, a t-Sort system can be integrated to increase value at minimal cost. This combined solution significantly increases capacity and productivity at an attractive incremental investment and ROI, the company says. Furthermore, t-Sort can be effectively deployed in a dark store or a standalone micro-fulfillment site.
With store-based fulfillment models, t-Sort fits within an existing backroom space and works in conjunction with Tompkins Robotics’ new t-Rail system to provide overhead transportation of goods to and from the sales floor, minimizing floor congestion and human interaction while also providing incremental ROI and added value for customers.
When used in a retail backroom setting, the t-Sort micro-fulfillment solution:
- Facilitates inbound sortation of mixed containers to segments of each aisle for faster, more efficient shelf stocking.
- Enhances home delivery and BOPIS order processing by allowing batch picks of hundreds of orders by department or aisle, improving speed, productivity, capacity and efficiency.
- Automates order consolidation, increasing customer service levels and decreasing labor requirements.
- Reduces aisle congestion and shopper interference by minimizing staff requirements, enhancing the customer experience.
- Can be configured to sort large, bulky products on one level and smaller goods on the other level to optimize operations and increase productivity.
- Provides increased capacity, enabling retailers to meet surges in daily customer orders.
- Sorts outbound parcels by route, courier or local delivery unit, enabling same- or next-day delivery at the lowest cost.
“We can deploy a backroom t-Sort system in as little as two weeks per site during a rollout to multiple stores,” Futch said. “A system can increase capacity in minutes once additional robots are on site, and an entire system can be moved to another store in a day. The simple, flexible design and plug-and-play elements make t-Sort truly unique for micro-fulfillment applications.”