As grocers continue to streamline their e-commerce infrastructure and offerings, StrongPoint, an Oslo, Norway-based grocery retail solutions provider, is bringing its grocery picking technology to the U.S. market.
Designed specifically for “grocery retailers looking for fast, hyperefficient and scalable e-commerce logistics solutions,” the StrongPoint solution suite “delivers industry-leading efficiency rates for in-store picking, averaging 240 items picked per labor hour across all product categories, compared to orders that are picked with more traditional solutions,” the company said.
While StrongPoint is making its U.S. debut today, the company launched its first picking solution in 1997 in Europe. Among its current retail partnerships, StrongPoint works with ICA Sweden, which, with some 1,300 stores, is one of the largest grocery retailers in Scandinavia.
StrongPoint also works with other leading grocery retailers in Europe, including Coop Sweden, Coop Italy, Coop Denmark, Coop Estonia, Rimi Baltics, Axfood, Salling Group, NorgesGruppen, Alimerka, Interspar, Eurospar and many others.
“In Scandinavia the cost of in-store associates is $35-plus an hour and that means if you want to be profitable when doing online groceries you have to be not just efficient, but laser-focused on hyperefficiency,” StrongPoint CEO Jacob Tveraabak told WGB. “One store owner told us they are averaging 270 items an hour across all product categories, have one zone-picker achieving 630 items per man hour, are processing over 2,000 orders a week with 85% of customers doing curbside pickups and are achieving 10% profit on e-commerce orders. And this is from a normal grocery store leveraging its biggest asset—its store.”
Hosted on StrongPoint’s cloud-based SaaS e-commerce platform, its order picking solution is designed to help retailers capitalize on the growing opportunity of online grocery, driving greater efficiency and higher productivity rates. It also reduces labor costs associated with the fulfillment of online orders, while enhancing customer convenience and protecting margins, the company said.
“We provide order picking technology and multiple last-mile solutions, including home delivery, curbside pickup with automated license plate recognition and in-store pickup systems and software to integrate everything and ensure a hyperefficient workflow,” continued Tveraabak.
StrongPoint notes that a key benefit of its cloud-based solution is that grocery retailers receive continuous updates as the team finds new opportunities to drive efficiency gains.
While demand for grocery e-commerce and delivery has soared since the pandemic, many retailers have struggled to make online grocery profitable. StrongPoint said it seeks to solve this challenge.
“We are proud to unveil our latest technology solution, specifically designed to help grocery retailers leverage their stores and cater to the exponential growth of e-commerce,” said Tveraabak. “Having worked with grocery retailers for over three decades, we understand the importance of driving speed, efficiency and scalability across their operations in the stores—and that was intrinsic in how we developed the latest iteration of our grocery e-commerce order picking solution.”
StrongPoint finds that many of its grocery retail customers that are using the full functionalities of the solution are able to reach average in-store picking rates of some 240 items per labor hour across all product categories, compared with the industry standard of 60 to 65 items per labor hour when using traditional solutions. StrongPoint also said its order picking solution averages 99.99% accuracy.
The company’s picking solution is designed for deployment in both large- and small-format settings using smartphones, and includes multizone and multiorder picking capabilities to drive efficiencies. It can integrate with other store hardware, such as electronic shelf labels (ESLs), allowing store associates to “pick to light” to increase speed and order accuracy, the company said.
StrongPoint’s technology also customizes the picking route for the store associate to maximize effective order sequencing for picking based on the layout of each store. Other standard features include picking by temperature zones, multiple solutions for age-restricted items and substitution options.
Additionally, grocery retailers can integrate a “smart trolley” that has been purpose-built for maximum ergonomic efficiency, the company said. Data inputs at each stage of the picking process—from preparing the trolley to the picking, weighing and bagging of products—create a continuous feedback loop, so ergonomic improvements can be made to drive further efficiencies, speed and accuracy.
As to StrongPoint’s U.S. debut, Tveraabak said, “We are already in the U.S. working with a selected number of tier-1 grocery retailers, directly as well as via our U.S.-based partner.
“We have been chosen by Europe’s equivalent of DoorDash—the Spanish-based unicorn Glovo—to use our order picking technology for their grocery retail partners,” he continued. “Glovo needed the flexibility to provide order picking technology to the biggest range of store sizes imaginable—from a small convenience store to a big supermarket. One of the key reasons they chose us was the flexibility our solution provides as it can be used from the smallest to the biggest of grocery stores.”