Getting shoppers’ online orders delivered to their doors isn’t cheap, but it’s increasingly essential as many consumers have come to expect fast and free shipping.
The need to meet those twin goals is what drove Boxed Wholesale in August to raise $111 million in new financing. The online-only retailer of consumer packaged goods plans to expand its distribution footprint and add more robotics and other kinds of automation to its facilities to make its workers more efficient, says Rick Zumpano, Boxed’s vice president of distribution.
The automation has helped Boxed deliver consumers’ orders more quickly since the retailer began using it to collect items for the workers who pack orders for shipment. Since the distribution center overhaul went live at Boxed’s Union, New Jersey facility, the retailer’s “pick rates”–the number of items collected from warehouse shelves in a given time—are nearly five times faster than they were under the retailer’s previous system. That increased efficiency has allowed Boxed to grow while keeping the number of warehouse staffers roughly constant.
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