Nordstrom streamlines distribution operations with AMRs

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Tompkins Robotics has partnered with Nordstrom to design and deploy robotic parcel sortation systems to help streamline and optimise the fashion retailer’s distribution operations at selected sites in the USA.

The solution utilises Tompkins Robotics’ t-Sort autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to support e-commerce and retail replenishment needs.

Mike Futch, president of Tompkins Robotics, said: “This project represents collaboration between multiple innovative organisations applying digital transformation and revolutionary robotic systems to supply chain operations to drive speed, accuracy and profitability.

“The end result is shorter delivery times, improved in-store stock positions, reduced operational and freight costs and an enhanced overall customer experience.”

According to Tompkins Robotics, t-Sort operates similar to a tilt tray or crossbelt sorter without a fixed track, consisting of free moving robots along the shortest route possible to sort items and packages by shipping order, destination or service level.

Capable of handling parcels and units as small as a penny and up to 66 lb (30kg), the t-Sort system is modular and additional robots can be added or removed without interruption or downtime.

Nordstrom is utilising t-Sort to handle unit and item sortation of e-commerce and store fulfilment orders as well as larger t-Sort Plus robots for parcel and carton shipping sortation to outbound carriers and modes.

The retailer is currently using t-Sort to fulfil west coast-bound beauty orders.

Ngoc Phan, vice president of supply chain systems and engineering at Nordstrom, said: “We have developed a market approach to our supply chain enabled by our combined technology of Tompkins Robotics and Attabotics.

“This approach helps us continue to get customers the right product at a faster speed and reduce out of stocks, extended fulfilment times and shipping delays, and we look forward to continue leveraging this technology to enhance our fulfilment operations to provide a seamless shopping experience for customers.”

The t-Sort system also integrates with other technologies to offer an end-to-end order fulfilment solution.

For Nordstrom, when combined with new storage and retrieval automation, t-Sort uses up to 90% less footprint within the retailer’s distribution facilities.

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