Global e-grocery leader Rohlik triples picking productivity with new Swisslog automation solutions

One of Swisslog’s CycloneCarrier shuttle systems integrated in a Rohlik distribution centre

Global e-grocery disruptor, Rohlik, has invested in Swisslog automated micro-fulfilment centre (MFC) solutions to boost pick productivity threefold, and deliver 60% more storage space.

Rohlik has added two new projects, which are part of a $66m AUD (45m Euro) automation investment, as the company plans to deliver faster service more than 850,000 customers, with the flexibility to effectively manage demand peaks.

The same automation technologies are providing benefits to e-grocery and retail customers in Australasia, after being proven in the U.S. for years.

“Automating e-grocery fulfillment enables significant productivity improvements compared to picking products from store shelves, and it also eliminates in-store picker congestion,” says Mr Francis Meier, Managing Director, Swisslog Australia and New Zealand.

“Automated micro-fulfillment centres help to reduce delivery costs and shorten the last mile and the time to consumer. They are also an ideal solution for fulfilling online orders for curbside pickup,” he said.

Rohlik’s latest automation projects will deliver a threefold increase in picking productivity, over 60% more storage space in its fulfilment centres, and a streamlined replenishment and inventory process, says Swisslog.

As part of its automation upgrades, Rohlik will install many AutoStore robots in its logistics centers. Swisslog is the leading integrator of AutoStore globally, with teams dedicated to optimising and maintaining its performance.

Shift in consumer behaviour

The pandemic has brought a major shift in grocery shopping patterns, with research suggesting that up to two-thirds of consumers changed their grocery shopping behaviour. Now, industry analysts and grocers are projecting that for a significant percentage of the market, these initially short-term adaptations will translate into long-term behaviour changes.

“The right automation solutions are enabling e-grocery providers to operate with the sustained throughput they need, while also providing operational flexibility to accommodate demand peaks,” says Mr Meier.

“Having sold or implemented several e-grocery projects in recent years, we are ideally placed to now support Rohlik on their growth journey with flexible and temperature controlled automation.”

“We are proud to be a main partner for Rohlik with our large and committed team, which has ideal expertise in software, AutoStore, and integrated logistics solutions.”

Multi-million dollar automation projects

The first project for Rohlik involves a fulfillment centre in Prague, Czech Republic, and is due to be completed by the end of 2023. The e-grocery operations will utilise AutoStore technology, the Swisslog CycloneCarrier Shuttle solution and Swisslog QuickMove conveyor system, all supported by Swisslog’s SynQ Software.

The second project is for an e-grocery fulfillment centre in Vienna. This facility will also use Swisslog’s SynQ Software and AutoStore technology, combined with Swisslog’s QuickMove modular conveyor system.

E-grocery experience

Swisslog has a well-established and growing reputation for successfully implementing automation projects across the burgeoning e-grocery sector. In the US, The GIANT Company recently opened its new, state-of-the-art GIANT Direct E-commerce Fulfillment Centre (EFC) in Philadelphia, US. This new, 124,000 square foot facility is powered by AutoStore and optimised by Swisslog’s SynQ software.

“Swisslog has also partnered with H-E-B in San Antonio, Texas, to deploy a number of automated micro-fulfilment centres to support the chain’s curbside pick-up and delivery business. In the recent months, we have also received orders and implemented new e-grocery projects for customers in Italy and the Middle East,” explains Mr Meier, highlighting the growing e-grocery automation business on a global scale.

In Sydney, Australia, Swisslog is currently underway building a new automated micro-fulfillment centre with 24/7 click and collect for e-commerce order fulfillment specialists, SKUtopia.

A spokesman for SKUtopia said, “Swisslog’s solution provides flexibility to grow as SKUtopia grows, and as our customers grow, which means all companies can stay agile and responsive to growth or changes in product or offering.”

Swisslog’s new automation solution for SKUtopia will enable 24/7 click and collect for customers

“The automated solution has also increased efficiency, accuracy and throughput, allowing us to deliver products to customers faster. The system provides an average increase of 1200% (12 times) compared with a manual warehouse,” he said.