Rohlik Group, a major player in Europe’s grocery home delivery market, has set an ambitious goal to deliver orders within an hour. To achieve this, the e-grocery retailer has turned to robotics. In partnership with Cincinnati-based Brightpick, Rohlik has initiated a pilot program at its Prague fulfillment center, which handles 7,000 orders per day and boasts a whopping 18,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs).
The Prague warehouse comprises five picking zones, including ambient, fresh, chilled, frozen, and bulky items. The focus of the pilot is the ambient zone, where Rohlik previously relied on human workers to pick items into totes. These totes were then sent via a conveyor for consolidation into complete orders and subsequent delivery by drivers.
Now, Rohlik has adopted AI-powered autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) from Brightpick, specifically the Autopicker and Dispatcher models, to automate these manual tasks.
The process begins with an Autopicker extracting a storage tote, selecting the required items with its robotic arm, and placing them into an order tote. The Autopicker then returns the storage tote to its place on the shelf, taking the order tote to the conveyor for delivery to the dispatch area.
In the dispatch area, Brightpick’s Dispatcher AMRs take over. They retrieve the totes, consolidate the items into complete orders, and send them to a staging area, organized in a way that drivers can easily identify which totes belong to specific orders.
The new system allows Rohlik to pick orders in advance, distributing volumes throughout the day. According to Brightpick, the Dispatchers currently handle 300 orders per hour across 60 different routes.
As a result of this pilot, Rohlik has reduced its workforce in the ambient picking zone by 25 to 30 full-time employees and by 10 to 15 full-time employees in the dispatch area.
Rohlik’s choice of Brightpick was influenced by the compatibility of the solution with its existing shelving and picking layout. This saved the company from making significant capital investments and allowed for a quick installation without disrupting operations.
The company plans to extend the Brightpick solution to other facilities, including warehouses in Munich, Frankfurt, and Vienna. Additionally, they intend to expand the use of robotics beyond the ambient picking zone to their chilled picking operations.