Nordstrom Uses Robotic Technologies to Optimize Supply Chain
Originally published on risnews.com, Jan. 9:
Nordstrom has teamed up with Tompkins Robotics, a business unit of Tompkins International, to design and deploy cutting-edge parcel sortation systems.
The robotic solution will help streamline and optimize the fashion retailer’s distribution operations at a few sites throughout the U.S. The solution utilizes Tompkins Robotics’ t-Sort autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to support e-commerce and retail replenishment needs.
Ideal for small to large distribution operations, t-Sort is a portable, scalable robotic sortation system that operates similar to a tilt tray or crossbelt sorter without a fixed track, consisting of free moving robots along the shortest route possible to sort items and packages by shipping order, destination or service level. Capable of handling parcels and units as small as a penny and up to 66 pounds.
While automation can sometimes require a large upfront investment, the system is fully modular and additional robots can be added or removed instantaneously without any interruption or downtime, enabling Nordstrom to easily to ramp up for peak seasons.
Nordstrom is utilizing the system to handle unit and item sortation of e-commerce and store fulfillment orders as well as the provider’s larger t-Sort Plus robots for parcel and carton shipping sortation to outbound carriers and modes. The retailer is currently using the t-Sort robotic solution to fulfill west coast beauty orders.
“We have developed a market approach to our supply chain enabled by our combined technology of Tompkins Robotics and Attabotics,” said Ngoc Phan, vice president of supply chain systems and engineering at Nordstrom. “This approach helps us continue to get customers the right product at a faster speed and reduce out of stocks, extended fulfillment times and shipping delays, and we look forward to continue leveraging this technology to enhance our fulfillment operations to provide a seamless shopping experience for customers.”
The t-Sort system integrates with other innovative technologies to offer a true end-to-end order fulfillment solution for Nordstrom. When combined with new storage and retrieval automation, the integrated solution uses up to 90% less footprint within the retailer’s distribution facilities.
“This project represents collaboration between multiple innovative organizations applying digital transformation and revolutionary robotic systems to supply chain operations to drive speed, accuracy and profitability,” said Mike Futch, president of Tompkins Robotics. “The end result is shorter delivery times, improved in-store stock positions, reduced operational and freight costs and an enhanced overall customer experience.”