Rhonda L Foshee, Jamal Khan, Logan Stanfield
An application can scan the full list of click-and-collect items for an order, determine the amount of space of each type that will be needed and then determine if the store has the proper storage capacity to pick the order. Further, based on customer expected pickup time, temperature sensitive items (or otherwise stored items) picking may be prioritized based on proper space. The goal is to properly prioritize click-and-collect order picking based on storage locker type availability and customer pickup times.
When a customer places items for groceries, they often order a selection of items with mixed temperature requirement to maintain item freshness. For example:
- Hot item from bakery section (ex. ready-to-go food, fresh bread, fresh pizza), which need to be kept warm or hot to retain premium freshness
- Cold item (ex. fresh meat or fish, frozen lasagna) which need to be refrigerated or frozen at a certain temperature
A Retailer may not want to pick some or all temperature sensitive items in a particular order, if the storage lockers for click-and-collect orders do not have sufficient room. For example, if there’s no room for the frozen food, the Retailer may not want to pick up the hot items either.
The solution uses a combination of existing/new attributes for a Retailer's item file (such as location, temperature requirements, bag requirements, weight, size) and Click-and-Collect storage locker attributes (temperature of the locker, locker size, storage usage times, locker in-use, etc) to optimize pick times. This can minimize the length of storage of an Order, as well as not start a click-and-collect order if storage isn’t available.
A picking application first scans the entire Order picklist, determining specific bagging requirements (such as freezer bags or specific bags for hot items). This Application then uses that information to optimize the picklist behavior.
The Application optimizes the route in the store to ensure that temperature sensitive items are picked last. It can also allow the click-and-collect order to be divided by temperature or other storage requirements, which would enable parts of the order to be collected by different pickers to work with the temperature sensitive needs or maximize productivity.
But, more importantly, the Application validates that sufficient storage capacity/needs are available. Specifically the Application evaluates characteristics such as weight, size, temperature, estimated customer pickup time, current time, storage space of a specific size, storage temp and availability. As part of that evaluation, the Application pre-assigns storage lockers(s) for the needs of the Order. There is often more than one person picking click-and-collect orders, so the temperature-controlled locker space might not be available after the order has been completely picked. Pre-assigning the storage locker space ensures that the required locker storage is still available, by making it appear already occupied to any new evaluations to determine if there is room.
To ensure that this occurs, automated locks can be added to the storage lockers, with a key or password provided by the application to a specific click-and-collect order to open the allocated storage locker(s) when the order picking has completed. Once the order has been removed from the allocated locker(s) for delivery to the customer, the key/password would be removed from the locker so it is ready to be allocated for the next order.
TGCS Reference 2537