Majid Al Futtaim, the exclusive franchisee of French hypermarket chain Carrefour in the United Arab Emirates, has opened a fully automated micro-fulfillment center (MFC) at the Carrefour store in Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai.
Developed in partnership with Takeoff Technologies, the digitized storage picking facility automates the task of managing orders: All orders can be prepared within five minutes, and the average time between order placement and dispatch has been cut in half. This allows up to 200 orders to be sent out every hour, dramatically enhancing the ecommerce experience.
Online orders are automatically processed by a system that controls the automated storage facility, which also includes a chilled section. Autonomous Mobile Robots then assist human associates in retrieving items and maintaining stock levels. A dedicated inventory placement function uses AI to allocate storage space for stock depending on each item’s popularity, improving stock availability for orders.
The MFC in Ibn Battuta Mall is the first of three such facilities, with an additional two fulfillment centers set to implement AI and autonomous robots in the first half of 2021.
The use of automation was prompted by a 220% increase in online orders during the pandemic, leading to an acceleration of Carrefour’s online growth plans.
“Automation is driving the retail industry forward, helping to keep up with shoppers’ demands for even faster service,” said Nalla Karunanithy, Chief Digital Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Retail in a statement.
Majid Al Futtaim operates 350+ Carrefour locations in 17 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.