Collect&Go to now pick orders with smart self-driving vehicles

Collect&Go to now pick orders with smart self-driving vehicles

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Collect&Go, Colruyt Group’s online grocery shopping service, is taking an important step with the introduction of autonomous vehicles in its distribution centre in Londerzeel. Collect&Go is introducing this new innovation in partnership with Colruyt Group Smart Innovation, the innovation team within the group. The goal of the initiative is to increase efficiency in the fresh foods section of the distribution centre. A total of 22 self-driving vehicles (SDVs) are currently in operation, which makes the picking of fresh produce 20% faster.

Efficiency gains of 20%

The Collect&Go distribution centre in Londerzeel has a staff of 260 employees, who work side by side with the SDVs. The innovative system simplifies and streamlines logistics operations, thereby introducing a new order processing method. The SDV navigates autonomously through the warehouse and guides Collect&Go employees to the right locations to retrieve the items.

The screen on every SDV displays a list of products to be picked and automatically determines the most efficient route. Impact? Shorting walking distances and a 20% increase in productivity when it comes to fresh product picking. On arrival at a location, employees pick the products from the list and place them in the crates on the SDV. They carefully supervise every step of the process, thereby reducing the chance of errors and increasing efficiency.

Pursuing innovation with a human focus and efficiency

Tom Malfroid, Supply Chain Manager for Collect&Go, explains: “Our SDVs are a perfect example of how we innovate at Colruyt Group, with a focus on the human aspect and with greater efficiency as the goal. The interaction between our teams and the SDVs is unique. Our Collect&Go employees have even named all the SDVs, so we can now boast Daryl, Alessandro en Fanta among our new colleagues.”

This innovation aligns perfectly with Colruyt Group initiatives to optimise logistics processes while promoting a positive work experience for our employees. Tom Malfroid adds, “The SDVs also make the work less physically demanding for our employees, so that they can work ergonomically.”

Kim Vancauwenberghe, who is responsible for Colruyt Group Smart Innovation, emphasises the importance of the projects. “The collaboration between our Collect&Go employees and the SDVs is the perfect solution for preparing Collect&Go orders, but it would be a mistake to assume that this technology can be effortlessly introduced in all our logistics processes. Each of our operations has its own distinct requirements in terms of speed and volume, and requires a specific approach. This solution is carefully tailored to the needs of Collect&Go, making it unique for this specific area of application in Colruyt Group.”

Colruyt Group Smart Innovation has extensive experience with SDVs thanks to such activities as testing unmanned vehicles for home delivery by Collect&Go (link to Clevon press release) in 2023 and developing self-driving pallet trucks in co-creation with STILL (link to Still press release). These initiatives clearly show how Colruyt Group Smart Innovation is at the forefront of the integration of advanced technologies, with a strong focus on efficiency improvement and harmonisation of the interaction between people and machines.

Collect&Go Zelfrijdende rondhaalkar video.mp4 46 MB