IKEA has launched a new store concept with an automated small parts system by Swisslog. As part of the furniture giant’s ‘Store of the Future’ program, the pilot solution was completed at the IKEA store in Zagreb, Croatia. Representing the first in a series of future projects, IKEA stores around the world are set to harness the power of a micro-fulfillment approach to customer experience.
Swisslog, a global leader in robotic and data driven solutions for intralogistics, implemented the new automated system, which is in the store between the Market Mall and the Cash & Carry warehouse area. The company is now set to support IKEA in rolling out the micro-fulfillment concept in further locations around the world.
Productivity increase from 20 to 170 order lines per hour
“The micro-fulfillment solution at IKEA gives customers a choice between Click & Collect and home delivery,” says Swisslog Head of EMEA Jens Schmale, emphasizing, “The micro-fulfillment approach has countless advantages, including improved speed and efficiency of fulfillment, reduced transportation costs, and shorter delivery times.”
IKEA selected the highly efficient robotized storage and order processing solution AutoStore, complete with 6,000 bins, 14 robots and 4 picking stations. Currently hosting 2,900 articles, the system takes care of the storage and picking of small items weighing no more than 30kg.
Before adopting AutoStore, IKEA estimated an average of about 1km traveled by each operator to prepare an order, with a productivity rate of 20 order lines per hour. Today, with the new automated and data-driven solution, it is expected to increase productivity up to 170 order lines, allowing an important rationalization of the store’s resources with a significant return on investment.
Development of customer experience program
“Swisslog is very proud to be partnered with IKEA,” Schmale continues. “The whole team is excited to be supporting in the development of their customer experience program, especially with this pilot project.”
In the Croatia store, the Swisslog AutoStore system with Black Line robots is situated on a mezzanine. A Swisslog QuickMove light conveyor line transports the shipping units set up at the AutoStore picking doors, to an automatic machine for packing and closing the cartons ready to be taken to the outbound area. The small items handled by AutoStore are integrated with the online orders of oversized items, before being manually picked from other warehouse areas. The entire solution is managed and optimized by Swisslog SynQ Software.
Commissioned to Swisslog in July 2020, the system was implemented only nine months after IKEA placed the order and was operational by April 2021.
Swisslog has already proven itself as an ideal partner for micro-fulfilment centers at grocery and e-commerce chains around the globe. One example is Peapod Digital Labs, Ahold Delhaize USA’s digital and e-commerce engine, also recently announced it is working with Swisslog to pilot micro-fulfillment technology. Part of an e-commerce fulfillment center, the pilot launches as Ahold Delhaize USA companies continue to pursue their ambitions of becoming the leading omnichannel grocery retailer in their markets. The EFC is planned to help meet customer demand in the Philadelphia market and is expected to fulfill approximately 15,000 online orders per week for delivery to customers’ homes.