Dr. Josef Haid, Founder, President, and CEO
A few years ago, who would’ve thought that buying clothes and groceries from your couch would become the norm, let alone receiving them on the same day! But, today, as we all know, the world without online shopping is inconceivable. Customers have grown accustomed to ordering more and more products online and receiving them within hours.
While such customer gratification tactics are indeed making the life of online shoppers easier, the effort needed to achieve such a feat is not that simple. This is because online retailers still rely on timeworn logistics systems that require a lot of labour in terms of order fulfilment and last-mile delivery. Sometimes, there are as many as 40-100 handling steps for a product from the producer or distributor until it reaches the end customers. To add to the woe is the ever-increasing number of parcels driven by the rising online shoppers today. Hence, retailers are seen to invest massively in warehouses and fulfillment facilities—which is not only adding more manual handling steps but also increasing operating costs. What the retailers now need is innovative technology that not just helps them in streamlining the picking, packing, and shipping of goods but also their entire order fulfilment and last-mile delivery processes. The challenges are numerous: (1) scaling logistics infrastructure fast to cope with massive growth, (2) Increase speed to cater to new customer needs, and (3) flexibly automate to increase efficiency and remain able to handle the needs of different channels (omnichannel).
The usual approach is to either just add logistics space and people (as far as possible with the current shortage of labor supply and exploding costs) or to add automation. However, traditional automation usually comes at high cost, is inflexible and takes years until fully operational.
Pick8ship’s approach to automation, however, is quite different from the established beliefs prevalent in the marketplace. According to Dr. Josef Haid, the Founder, President, and CEO of Pick8ship, automation is not the panacea for every logistics challenge. While he certainly agrees to the fact that automation can solve the setbacks of manual labour, he also urges that such an endeavour cannot be successful if retailers just integrate run-of-the-mill automation solutions with their existing logistics workflow. “Never automate a wrong process” is something he learned early-on in his career only to later fully understand the meaning. And another one “structure follows process follows strategy” means, that if the strategy changes (i.e. brick and mortar to online or next day to same day or even below and hour) so must process and structure change.
This is precisely what the urban e-commerce logistics solution provider, Pick8ship, brings to bear.
In his quest to redesign the logistics model, Dr. Haid drew inspiration from Malcolm McLean, a transport entrepreneur who revolutionised the cargo industry in the 1950s by introducing intermodal 20 and 40-foot shipping containers. He took McLean’s containerisation approach and combined it with his experience in the restaurant equipment business and consulting work on logistics and high tech at McKinsey & Company. And the result speaks for itself. His company pioneered a half palette-sized container— which they call “PODs”. Pick8Ship has taken the idea of the Container a step further with “shelf-less” –smart containers or They are multi-use, shelf-less, high density storage spaces that can be deployed from fulfilment to last mile delivery.
In addition Pick8ship developed a multi-purpose handling robot for the fast and automated handling of load carriers in fulfilment or for the automated loading, unloading, and sorting of parcel packages. The company also designed another product: RoboVan.is specifically equipped Van with a mounted handling robot for super fast loading and delivery of large amounts of packages.
Pick8Ship is currently igniting a step change in performance and sustainability and creating a “Container Moment” for e-commerce sea-freight logistics
With these automated solutions and its smart containers, Pick8Ship is currently igniting a step change in performance and sustainability and creating a “Container Moment” for e-commerce logistics.
Smart Containers (PODs) + Multi- Purpose Robots + Pick8Ship Cloud = Pick8Ship Efficiency
In fulfilment, Pick8ship can be deployed from high density storage, over super-fast goods-to-person picking (up to 600 order lines per hour) to sorting, where the shipments can be sorted to smart Containers for the Tours and delivery with Vans or Cargo Bikes. For large delivery volumes RoboVan can be used in the future. The smart Containers can be moved inside the van according to the approaching delivery. Thus, the smart Container with the next deliveries of the route is in front of the delivery person, and he doesn’t have to search back in the can and rummage through the boxes to find a particular package. “Our entire process eliminates over 60 percent of handling steps of shipments from a producer to the customer, and automates and digitalises the process at 30-50 percent lower cost,” says Dr. Haid.
What makes all these solutions work in cohesion is Pick8ship’s Cloud OS software. This AI-driven logistics system digitalises the whole process end-to-end and enhances productivity, flexibility, and sustainability. But the proficiency of the software doesn’t stop here. By leveraging data analytics and machine learning, the cloud OS software reduces the handling steps and streamlines the entire logistics processes. The software reduces packaging waste by 90 percent and enables circular services such as re-fill, re-sell, and rental and recycling.
The “secret sauce” lies in the flexible combination of the Pick8ship modules to different use cases. Take Quick Commerce for example, hyperlocal fulfilment centers to deliver daily needs fast. Pick8ship is capable to build a 1’000 to 2’000 square foot Robot Delivery Store s that can handle 50 to 100 customers per hour at a fraction of cost of a manual dark store. For supermarkets double sized or larger systems can be integrated in existing stores to quickly scale omnichannel deliveries, again, with high density storage and fast automated handling. Even automated pick-up solutions can be realized by the Pick8ship system modules. Other solutions on the market realistically start at 10’000 square foot and need 6 to 10 meter height and USD 20 to 30 million per store in Revenue. To big for fast urban delivery.
But use cases are not limited to groceries, Beauty, Fashion even material supply in hospitals or manufacturing industries showed great potential in early testing.
Pick8ship comes just at the right time for the major transition of e-commerce logistics, towards faster, more flexible, urban, automated, and more sustainable fulfillment and last mile delivery. Pick8ship with its shelf-less storage, powered by mobile, high-speed handling robots offers new possibilities for integrated circular models. To illustrate how Pick8ship’s solutions have been helping its clients in the retail space, Dr. Haid cites an instance of a grocery retailer. As the volumes of online groceries steadily grew in the last few months, the retailer added a small fulfilment unit at the back of the store. Later, they started seeking an automated micro-fulfilment solution to pick and process orders faster, and at the same time, optimise their back-store fulfilment space when their online traction grew further. Instead of incorporating a slew of siloed solutions to automate each faction of the fulfilment workflow—which would also take years to implement—retailers can flexibly scale their logistics infrastructure with Pick8ship.
“Our seamless, multi-functional, and scalable solutions solve the usual ‘Gordian knot’ between automation and flexibility,” avers Dr. Haid. To enhance its offerings even further, Pick8ship opened their Robot Micro Fulfillment Test Center II earlier this year and expect to open a larger showcase toward end of this year, launching their go-to-market. With this, Pick8ship is proving that its solutions are not a dime a dozen. “We are Pick8sh Pick8ship, the container moment on steroids,” concludes Dr. Haid.