- PepsiCo has begun piloting automated micro-fulfillment technology for online orders in the Chicago area, the company announced Tuesday.
- Dematic, a technology vendor specializing in warehouse automation, is PepsiCo's partner on the project. The facility is located in Joliet, Illinois, and will pick, pack and ship PepsiCo products.
- The facility will expedite the picking process while requiring less floor space than traditional picking and encouraging social distancing, according to the announcement. "Initial tests show the high level of automation provided on-location allows PepsiCo to service 7.5x more units an hour than a traditional ecommerce warehouse operation," it reads.
PepsiCo Head of E-commerce Vince Jones said the CPG company is one of the first of its class to jump on the micro-fulfillment bandwagon.
Grocers have especially taken to the technology to relieve some of the headaches of store picking given the massive increase in demand for grocery delivery.
Dematic recently piloted a micro-fulfillment center with Meijer. Dematic's micro-fulfillment solution can be installed in as little as 12 weeks in a space as small as a 10,000-square-foot facility, it said when announcing its work with Meijer.
Dematic is one of the leaders in the growing technology set of micro-fulfillment in which automation allows shippers to store, pick, pack and ship products to consumers in small, usually urban or peri-urban spaces. The tech vendor told The Wall Street Journal its orders doubled in the second quarter year-over-year as companies look to meet unanticipated demand with more efficient warehouse operations.
Dematic has been working with PepsiCo on various initiatives going back at least to 2009, when the beverage giant adopted its voice-picking system.
PepsiCo's micro-fulfillment center is part of its growing e-commerce division. Job descriptions for a Chicago-based E-commerce Supply Chain Specialist and micro-fulfillment engineer to work on the Dematic facility describe the unit as having "a unique start-up feel and defined values that embrace a more entrepreneurial mindset."
The company launched two direct-to-consumer websites in May (after just 30 days of development), in part as an answer to the stockpiling behavior brought on by the pandemic.