A wholly owned subsidiary of FairPrice Group Supply Chain, Grocery Logistics of Singapore (GLS) stores and distributes fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) to NTUC FairPrice, which is Singapore’s largest supermarket chain.
In March 2018 when NTUC FairPrice overhauled its e-commerce platform, FairPrice On, GLS implemented an AutoStore™ automated storage and retrieval system as a way to meet demand for fast online service. The investment in automation paid off. GLS dramatically increased its picking efficiency using AutoStore, which was key to the initial success and continued growth of the FairPrice On website and mobile application.
Automation has allowed supermarket operator FairPrice to streamline its processes and track products more easily.
GLS’ automation plans started in 2016, when Singapore launched its Retail Industry Transformation Map (ITM). This map contains key strategies to support sector transformation, and focuses on innovation and the adoption of new technologies aimed at driving productivity.
GLS adopted the strategies outlined in the map. “We continue to innovate and harness technology to boost productivity and customer service while adapting to constant shifts in the e-commerce industry,” says former CEO Seah Kian Peng.
The surge in demand for certain products at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic also meant that GLS had to increase their capacity. In turn, Singapore had a role to play in bettering the supply chain of goods in the region.
Kian Peng believes the shifting global supply chain will create opportunities for Singapore to emerge as a trusted hub to do business.
With the ability to store of over 13,000 products and handle up to 3,000 orders per day, the GLS AutoStore has enabled FairPrice On to grow in leaps and bounds, as there are now over 400,000 registered subscribers. Many place their orders via the mobile app.
Here’s what the AutoStore system looks like in GLS’ large Singapore warehouse:
AutoStore has helped maximize economic benefits to people living in Singapore and the surrounding region.
“GLS’ journey is reflective of Singapore’s in the next phase of its development, which is about embracing technological change to maximize its benefits for everyone, but also keeping a watchful eye on how it impacts jobs and helps every individual adapt to change and do well,” Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugarathnam said at the official launch of the new AutoStore system.
President Halimah Yacob adds: “Automation has allowed GLS to streamline its processes as it tracks products more easily. This has also enabled GLS to spot potential problems before they turn into major issues and end up causing disruptions.”
Yacob notes these efficiencies are significant for Singapore, a country that imports most of its food. “We import more than 90% of our food products from 170 countries. Ensuring supply chain resilience for our food products and essential foodstuff is really important. It’s an issue of national security.”
Apart from general economic advantages, the automated warehousing system has improved GLS’ operational efficiency by a factor of four. It also makes full use of the available workforce, the entire system is incredibly flexible, and the team can easily expand it to accommodate future growth.
When UK retailer ASDA needed to automate their warehouse in 2012, they looked to Swisslog and AutoStore™ to design a materials handling solution. This is their success story.
In 2017, after experiencing a 30% growth year-on-year, Parts Town installed the AutoStore warehouse automation system to help the company continue to fulfill its same-day delivery promise.
AutoStore can fit any warehouse or fulfillment center. Make yours the next.