TORONTO – Loblaw plans to invest in its PC Express service by building an automated picking facility inside one of the company’s GTA locations.
Loblaw is partnering with Takeoff Technologies, which provides automated fulfillment in hyperlocal fulfillment centres that fit into one eighth of a typical supermarket’s space.
Construction is underway at a GTA Real Canadian Superstore, where the company will install a 12,000 square foot picking facility within the store. When launched in 2020, the technology will have the capacity to support PC Express orders in select stores within close proximity to the automated picking facility.
“This new technology complements the service of our PC Express colleagues and leverages the strength of our retail store network,” said Sharon Lansing, VP, general manager, grocery e-commerce at Loblaw.
“We can fill more orders, more quickly, with a near-guarantee that the products customers order online will be in stock at the store.”
After an order is received through PC Express it may be split into automated picking and/or in-store picking, depending on the products requested. Instead of walking the store to pick groceries, our automated facility brings groceries directly to a human employee to pick and pack.
Once complete, the order goes to a ‘staging area’ where another staffer reviews the order and stores it in the appropriate temperature zone (frozen, chilled or, room temperature). The order is then combined with the in-store picked items if necessary and is ready for pickup.
With Takeoff’s solution, orders of up to 60 items can be assembled in just a few minutes. Orders can also be picked with over 99.9% accuracy.
“We are very excited about our partnership with Loblaw. Our proprietary solution will allow them to make significant improvements to their service at a hyperlocal store level,” said Jose Vicente Aguerrevere, co-founder and CEO of Takeoff Technologies.
“We provide a turn-key solution that enables grocery chains to skip the typically lengthy and painful process of installing a large, automated warehousing facility, with even better results” added Max Pedro, co-founder and President of Takeoff.
Loblaw currently operates 700 PC Express pick up locations, at transit stations, pharmacies, and in grocery stores across the country.