AutoStore, Alert Innovation, and Swisslog are the Market Leaders in ABI Research’s Micro-Fulfillment ASRS Vendor Competitive Ranking

30 Mar 2022

The new Competitive Ranking by global technology intelligence firm ABI Research provides an in-depth and unbiased examination of twelve solution providers of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) for micro-fulfillment. The ranking further delivers market trends, analysis, and insights based on various chosen criteria including ease of integration with third-party solutions, space optimization, level of customization and configuration, level of customization and configuration, breadth of solution partners, and customer references. These criteria were identified as the most vital for the continual growth and market acceptance of ASRS, especially in the micro-fulfillment space. The companies evaluated and ranked are:

Market Leaders: AutoStore, Alert Innovation, Swisslog

Mainstream: Ocado, Attabotics, KNAPP, Exotec, Fabric

Followers: inVia Robotics, Honeywell Intelligrated, Dematic, OPEX

As more and more retailers and grocers are trying to shift to an online business model, they are looking for technologies that can make online food and grocery shopping more sustainable and scalable. Micro-Fulfillment centers (MFCs) that are located closer to population centers can help to expedite shipping and accelerate the last mile delivery process. Item storage and retrieval for order fulfillment is extremely labor intensive. Automated solutions were previously catering for large scale distribution centers and warehouses. “All the twelve vendors in this list have managed to meet this market demand by creating dedicated ASRS solution in MFCs. By mixing fixed automation, namely conveyance system, industrial robotics arms, and cranes, with mobile automation such as robotics shuttles, Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) and Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR), these micro-fulfillment ASRSs become the enabling technology in the era of distributed supply chain,” says Lian Jye Su, Principal Analyst at ABI Research.

Based on ABI Research’s unbiased competitive ranking, AutoStore, Alert Innovation, and Swisslog are the leading solution providers for micro-fulfillment ASRS. Widely adopted by retailers and grocers across the world, AutoStore and Swisslog demonstrate high product versatility, strong industrial partnerships, and ease of integration with third-party hardware and software solutions. Alert Innovation on the other hand is solely focused on grocery and has gained strong traction with Walmart. The company is also selling its solution through established system integrators.

Mainstream vendors in this ranking have a strong market presence in a niche domain or are startups in trialing and testing phase with their clients but have demonstrated that they possess the right technology to catch up with the market leaders quickly. Ocado has already shown its capability to scale cuboid ASRS technology for centralized fulfillment centers, and they are looking to bring this capability to the micro-fulfillment market for grocery. This is the same for Exotec that has a wider market focus. Attabotics is democratizing 3D shuttle based ASRS for small and medium enterprises. On top of rolling out its solution for end users, Fabric is building its own distributed Micro-Fulfillment Centers (MFCs). KNAPP has strong hardware and software partnership with Takeoff Technologies.

“All major retailers and grocers are recognizing the importance of highly automated micro-fulfillment centers in their supply chain strategy. Walmart alone has partnered with 3 vendors listed in this ranking, while Kroger with 2. More will likely to follow as ABI Research believes this is going to be the next billion-dollar market. To be successful in this market, vendors must focus on a high level of customization and configuration, space optimization, breath of solution partners, and integration with popular third-party solutions,” concludes Su.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Micro-Fulfillment Automated Storage and Retrieval System Vendors competitive ranking report. This report is part of the company’s Industrial, Collaborative, and Commercial Robotics research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Competitive Ranking reports offer comprehensive analysis of implementation strategies and innovation, coupled with market share analysis, to offer unparalleled insight into a company’s performance and standing in comparison to its competitors.

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