What is… “micro-fulfillment”?

At the heart of micro-fulfillment is a fulfillment center, in the middle of a city, making use of the minimum of space. A micro-fulfillment center is one answer to the challenges associated with the last mile, for example in food retail. To deliver sooner, fresher and direct to the front door, companies are establishing compact, highly automated storage facilities – sometimes small enough to be squeezed into the backroom of an existing physical shop. These facilities comprise a cleverly designed system of compartments that move goods independently to the picker. As a result, these miniature inner-city warehouses are able to take products closer to online shoppers, and improve the responsiveness and profitability of businesses.

Automation technology specialist Dematic recently implemented a system of this type in just six months. It is tailored to the needs of retailers with high throughput: it requires just 900 square meters, and can therefore be installed directly within or adjacent to retail shops in urban settings, accelerating the last mile.