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Largest Ever Rollout Of AI-Enabled Robots Set To Supercharge Australian Ecommerce

eStore Logistics’ two state-of-the-art fulfilment centres in Melbourne’s western suburbs will enable online retailers to provide cost-effective same-day fulfilment for consumers.

Ecommerce-focussed fulfillments provider eStore Logistics has unveiled the largest ever rollout of AI-enabled robots in Australian retail fulfilment. Two new facilities will be equipped with over 200 Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) that will transform ecommerce in Australia by fulfilling orders fast enough for retailers to offer affordable same day delivery services to customers.

eStore Logistics is investing AUD$40m over several years into the two fulfilment centres. The first, a 8,383 sqm facility, is already operational. The second, a 26,600 sqm warehouse that is larger than the Melbourne Cricket Ground, will open in August. Both are located in Melbourne’s western suburbs and will handle up to 95,000 orders each day for brands including Kogan.com, Temple & Webster, Patagonia and MTB Direct.

The rollout comes at a critical phase for Australian ecommerce, which has been growing 20 percent  year-on-year, but accelerated rapidly under the coronavirus lockdown. Online retail accounted for more than one in every five dollars spent on non-food goods in April.

With online retail sales projected to reach $33.bn by 2030, eStore Logistics’ robotic warehouse system will give retailers a competitive edge by enabling them to stay ahead of evolving consumer expectations.

World-class warehousing and order fulfilment

Whilst priority delivery options are already available from some Australian online retailers, AMRs make it cost-effective for retailers of all sizes to offer the service. Inside each warehouse, autonomous robots and expertly trained staff work in tandem to make the stock picking process up to four times faster than a traditional fulfilment centre. This enables far later cut-off times for same-day delivery, meaning that even online orders placed at 4pm can be successfully delivered within three hours.

The robot-equipped warehouses will ensure retailers can easily manage sales spikes during peak periods, such as Black Friday, EOFY and Christmas. Using internally developed advanced algorithms, sales orders are shipped the same day from the most optimal warehouse and with the most suitable lowest cost freight carrier.

eStore Logistics is also securing additional sites to form a network of robotics-enabled warehouses across Australia. It expects to create more than 100 new jobs over the next two years as it continues to expand its warehouse network and service new clients. No jobs have been lost as a result of the current implementation, in fact both managerial and IT roles have been created at both sites.

How do the robots work?

Similar in form to household robotic vacuum cleaners, eStore Logistics’ AMRs use proprietary algorithms based on historical matching data to calculate the most efficient picking paths and order groupings for goods. Communicating with one another, the AMRs also optimise operations by automatically adjusting the storage locations of shelves or pallets within warehouses based on incoming orders and future demand, learning as they go.

The robots retrieve and store inventory automatically, removing the need for staff to walk the warehouse floor or operate traditional material handling equipment to ship an order. Instead, the AMRs bring inventory stored on shelves or pallets to a workstation, staffed by a member of the eStore Logistics’ team, for picking.

You can view the AMRs in action here.

“Australian ecommerce is enjoying a phenomenal growth-spurt right now,” said Leigh Williams, Managing Director at eStore Logistics. In just a few months it’s gained ground that would otherwise have taken years. What’s more, with ecommerce penetration in Australia playing catch-up on other more developed markets such as the US and UK, ecommerce still has enormous room for growth.

“Consumers are demanding faster delivery today than they were three to four years ago, and our robotics warehouse systems mean online retailers can give their customers the best service possible — including same day delivery — in the most cost-effective way possible.”

Jen Geale, Co-founder and General Manager at MTB Direct, commented, “working with eStore Logistics allows us to focus on what we’re good at, while leaving the operations to the experts. We get access to the type of world-class warehousing and fulfilment that would be out-of-reach for a business like ours otherwise. We can scale up and down as needed, while also meeting customer demand for super fast delivery”.”

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