BRINGING FULFILLMENT CLOSER TO
The trend in urban fulfillment highlighted
within the previous article was introduced
by a rapid growth in e-commerce and
omni-channel retail. It is forcing supply
chain managers to re-think traditional
distribution strategies, and consider
moving inventory storage and fulfillment
closer to urban areas. This is a challenge,
especially since the ability to quickly
relocate those functions needs to be
maintained as market demand shifts.
QTainer, a family of compact, movable
material handling modules is another
solution designed to meet the urban
challenge. QTainer can be deployed to
almost any location with ease. The
modular Swisslog solution can be installed
to create pop-up urban distribution
centers. These centers will address the
volume growth, inventory placement, and
delivery speed challenges associated with
urban areas. They can also be moved to a
new location whenever required.
The building block for this solution is a
standard shipping container. When
integrated with Swisslog technology, and
controlled by our SynQ WMS, these
standardized container-based solutions
bring greater flexibility to network design.
They provide the ability to manage
inventory and bring fulfillment services
closer to customers.
SHAPING URBAN LOGISTICS
The QTainer solution addresses a variety of
supply chain challenges. One of the drivers
behind its conception was the need to
expand distribution into urban areas,
supporting faster delivery and enabling
more efficient omni-channel distribution.
The weather-proof QTainer modules can
be deployed on any paved surface, such as
a store parking lot. They can help retailers
meet peak demands with extra inventory,
while alleviating labor challenges by
automating item picking and carton
The plug-and-play connectivity of QTainer
modules support pop-up distribution
centers as simple as a single storage
module. It can also offer multiple storage,
item picking, and carton handling modules
to create a complete pop-up warehouse.
Through QTainer, Swisslog has integrated
proven automation in a variety of flexible
configurations to address many of the
challenges the industry is now facing.
All QTainer modules are cloud connected
to SynQ to control material flow across
multiple locations. Modules detect how
they are connected for easy configuration
and self-learning software optimizes
storage and routing between modules.
While a wide range of configurations are
available, Swisslog has designed a
standard QTainer scenario to support the
early adopters of container-based material
handling modules. This arrangement
includes modules for storage, itempicking, carton-handling, connecting, and
THE FUTURE OF CONTAINERIZED
MATERIAL HANDLING MODULES
As the technology continues to evolve,
modules will be designed to enable them
to be moved with goods stored inside,
mobilizing inventory in a way that creates
a host of new opportunities. QTainer
modules will be also be easily adapted to
new last mile delivery methods, such as
drone delivery or other forms of
Container-based material handling
solutions have the potential to bring
increased agility and flexibility to the
entire supply chain. Swisslog is leading the
way in bringing this exciting solution to
While the QTainer vision is in its early
stages, Swisslog has firm plans in place to
build prototypes within the next two
years. To ensure the final product is
fine-tuned and relevant to users, we invite
any customers with a potential interest in
the solution to participate in this process.
Please contact your local Swisslog
representative to find out more.
ARE POP-UP DISTRIBUTION CENTRES THE FUTURE?
Til Engelland, Portfolio
"QTainer can be installed to create
pop-up urban distribution centers.
These centers will address the volume
growth, inventory placement, and
delivery speed challenges associated
with urban areas."
Facts and Figures