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Hudson’s Bay Co. goes robotic — in fulfillment

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Just in time to streamline the upcoming holiday e-commerce sales rush, Hudson’s Bay Co. is touting a new robotic fulfillment system.

Called the first of its kind in Canada, the new state-of-the-art robotic fulfillment system is housed in the department store chain’s 752,000 sq.-ft. Scarborough distribution center, which manages the chain’s e-commerce operations.

“This investment in our Scarborough Distribution Center creates an e-commerce technology hub, and allows us to expand our e-commerce business, which is a key component to our all-channel strategy,” said Jer-ry Storch, CEO, Hudson’s Bay.

Described as the largest “perfect pick” case shuttle system ever built, the system is 12 to 15 times faster than a traditional manual process. Featuring 16 200-foot long aisles, the robotic solution utilizes the entire vertical height of the building; can hold more than one million units of inventory, and can process roughly 4,200 customer orders per hour, according to a company statement.

Two custom-built document-handling robots automate the insertion of packing lists, while 15,000 feet of conveyor and a fleet of approximately 300 autonomous robotic delivery vehicles — called iBOTs — move inventory for storing and shipping. The technology will enable the company to deliver orders three times faster than distribution centers using the next best robotic technology. The investment to upgrade the entire distribution facility was in excess of $60 million, the statement said.

“Our customers will benefit from the country’s fastest order shipping sys-tem,” Storch said. “We are proud to be the first to bring this industry-leading technology to Canada, in time for the busy holiday season.”

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