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Feeding a nation: Advanced online grocery fulfilment for RedMart Singapore

(Source: Dematic)

To meet surging demand and growth in online orders, RedMart – the online grocery service of e-commerce giant, Lazada – has automated operations at one of the largest logistics facilities in Singapore (32,500sqm), providing improved productivity, speed, accuracy, and space efficiency, plus safety and social distancing across multiple temperature zones.

Singapore has been experiencing strong growth in online grocery shopping in recent years. To meet this increased demand, RedMart adopted a range of automated solutions from Dematic at its RedMart West Fulfilment Centre, including robotic shuttles, ergonomic high-speed pick stations, an intelligent conveying system, and a high-rate sortation system. The operation is integrated and managed by a sophisticated software platform to make processes easy and efficient for pickers, packers, and management staff. With space being a premium in Singapore, the complete solution had to be compact and provide high capacity with a minimum footprint.

While the decision to install automation was made well before the onset of Covid-19, its importance was quickly underscored by the pandemic and the exponential rate at which consumers turned to online platforms to purchase their groceries. RedMart saw sales jump by more than four times its usual rate, with unique visitors to its website rising by more than 11 times.

“To meet the demand of consumers when it comes to online grocery shopping, the old method of manually hand-picking an order to pack and sending it to customers was too time-consuming, inefficient, and low in productivity,” said Gerald Glauerdt, Co-Founder & Chief Logistics Officer at RedMart and Lazada. “We knew we needed to scale our model of operations up, and we needed to find a solutions provider who was highly experienced in warehouse and logistics automation. Dematic was chosen as they were able to provide us with highly customisable solutions that would bring us the productivity increases that we were looking for.”

One of the solutions Dematic has provided is goods-to-person (GTP) picking with Dematic Multishuttle. With this system, products are automatically stored in high-density racks by robotic shuttles, which automatically transport totes between storage locations and operator pick stations, eliminating the need for operators to travel and preventing them from picking the wrong product. 

Whenever there is an order to be fulfilled from the GTP area, the Dematic Multishuttle system automatically retrieves totes containing the required items. Totes are retrieved in the required sequence and conveyed to the GTP pick stations where they are picked and placed into order containers. Operators stay in one place while items are delivered to their pick station automatically, increasing picking speeds and productivity. 

“This example of the GTP brings a highly productive solution in terms of processes, where a picker can now pick and pack 500 items in the same time that it used to take them to pick and pack 100 items in the past using the manual process,” said Glauerdt. “Dematic was able to offer this customised solution to help reduce the burden on our pickers, whilst boosting productivity and efficiency, helping us to meet the growing demand for online grocery shopping.”

The Dematic solution also includes the order fulfilment of fresh produce in multiple temperature zones, including a freezer pick area. Customer orders are transported through the various picking areas of the facility by an intelligent routing conveying system and are consolidated at ergonomic packing stations in preparation for despatch. Once packed, orders are conveyed and automatically sorted to specific delivery vehicles by a Dematic high rate sliding shoe sorter. By limiting order touchpoints the solution improves speed, productivity, and hygiene.

Watch the automation in action and learn more at