Micro-fulfillment

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Micro-fulfillment (or micro fulfillment) is a term coined by Boston-based tech startup Takeoff Technologies.[1], referring to a form of automated warehousing that is notable due to its small or “micro” size of operations. The micro-warehouses are typically known as Micro-Fulfillment Centers (MFCs)[2]

Micro-fulfillment Centers are popular in the food retail industry as an alternative to manual fulfillment, crowd-sourced shopper models, or large automated warehouses, as their small size offers major competitive advantages in terms of last mile and delivery costs, paired with the efficiency of automation. Micro-fulfillment is emerging as one of the main methods grocery retailers are using to fulfill online orders.[3]

Micro-fulfillment aims to optimize space used in automated fulfillment, so that the automated fulfillment centers can be placed in close proximity to where shoppers live. The average U.S. household is within 2.14 miles of the nearest supermarket or supercenter[4]. The goal of micro-fulfillment is to reduce the time and costs associated with delivering groceries, by being placed at store-level in existing grocery stores, or in stand-alone facilities or “dark stores” that are also close to end consumers.

Micro-fulfillment Centers are compact matrices of racking and shelves containing totes, in which the goods are stored and tracked. The totes are managed by autonomous robots that retrieve the totes when an order is placed, bringing the totes to a picking station where they can be assembled into an order ready for pickup or delivery.

References[edit]

  1. “No lines,no waiting. Nation’s first Robotic Supermarket Placed in Operation.” Progressive Grocer, March 2018. <https://indd.adobe.com/view/1b90df82-de33-4801-8b64-a44fc85dfb06>
  2. “Food Retail & Distribution, Fulfillment Deep Dive: MFCs = Best Path to Profitability; WMT Top Grocery Play.” Jeffries, October 2019.
  3. “Food Retail & Distribution, Fulfillment Deep Dive: MFCs = Best Path to Profitability; WMT Top Grocery Play.” Jeffries, October 2019.
  4. “Most U.S. Households Do Their Main Grocery Shopping at Supermarkets and Supercenters Regardless of Income” United States Department of Agriculture, August 2015. <https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2015/august/most-us-households-do-their-main-grocery-shopping-at-supermarkets-and-supercenters-regardless-of-income/>

[1] [2] [3]

External links[edit]

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  1. “Will Small, Robot-Run Warehouses Change the Grocery Game?” Yahoo Finance, July 2018. <https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/small-robot-run-warehouses-change-094800547.html>
  2. “Food Retail & Distribution, Fulfillment Deep Dive: MFCs = Best Path to Profitability; WMT Top Grocery Play.” Jeffries, October 2019.
  3. “Most U.S. Households Do Their Main Grocery Shopping at Supermarkets and Supercenters Regardless of Income” United States Department of Agriculture, August 2015. <https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2015/august/most-us-households-do-their-main-grocery-shopping-at-supermarkets-and-supercenters-regardless-of-income/>