Majid Al Futtaim has collaborated with eGrocery innovator Takeoff Technologies to launch an automated Micro Fulfillment Centre (MFC) at its Carrefour store in Ibn Battuta Mall. A first-of-its-kind facility in the Middle East, the digitised storage picking facility automates the task of managing orders, slashing the time required to process them by half. This is the first of three fulfillment centres to adopt advanced technologies and automation, with an additional two fulfillment centres set to implement AI and autonomous robots in the first half of 2021.
The Micro Fulfillment Centre was inaugurated during a visit by HE Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications along with Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim and Hani Weiss, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Retail.
Communities served by Carrefour Ibn Battuta will find it more convenient to order online as a result of the newly implemented technology. Orders will now be automatically processed by a system that controls the automated storage facility, which also includes a chilled section, a first for an automated fulfilment facility.
Commenting on the launch of this new Micro Fulfillment Centre, Hani Weiss, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim Retail said, “We are committed to offering our customers the best experience by implementing innovative technologies that help us achieve efficient operations. In partnership with Takeoff, the automated technologies will help us fulfil customers’ orders faster, while minimising human errors, and utilising our colleagues’ skills to better serve our customers. As always, we remain focused on delivering exceptional value for our customers through every experience.”
Nalla Karunanithy, Chief Digital Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Retail, added “Automation is driving the retail industry forward helping to keep up with shoppers’ demands for even faster service. As industry leaders, Carrefour is committed to adopting the most innovative technologies to enhance its operational efficiency. This is the first of three fulfillment centres that demonstrates our drive to continuously develop our processes to better serve our customers.”
The Carrefour Micro Fulfillment Centre utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) to pick customers’ orders from the optimum storage location. Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) assist human colleagues to retrieve items and maintain stock levels as products leave the facility. A dedicated inventory placement machine uses AI to allocate storage space for stock depending on each item’s popularity, drastically improving stock availability for orders. All orders are prepared within five minutes, cutting the average time between order placement and dispatch in half. This guarantees up to 200 accurate orders are sent out every hour to get products to customers in nearby communities on-time and in perfect condition.
In the wake of the pandemic, Carrefour has recorded 220% per cent increase in online orders in 2020, which led the company to accelerate its online growth plans. As a result, Majid Al Futtaim opened its Garhoud Fulfillment Centre in a record 5 weeks and activated several of its stores to fulfil online orders.