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Pockets power one-touch distribution

01 June 2021

Online retailers are increasingly realising the benefits of pocket sortation systems. When combined with automated shuttle storage, pocket technology is a potent force for warehouse efficiency.

Warehouse automation delivers unrivalled speed in e-com, enabling omnichannel and pureplay retailers to offer later order cut-off times. By shipping orders more quickly, conveniently and cheaply, retailers secure competitive advantage and, in a sector with labour shortages, automation alleviates the stress of recruiting and retaining staff. 

Seamless integration

Together, KNAPP's AutoPocket and OSR Shuttle technologies provide seamlessly integrated, one-touch distribution for all types of order – store replenishment, direct-to-customer and click-and-collect.

The OSR Shuttle system combines high-density storage, automatic retrieval of products required for orders and ergonomically designed picking stations. Based on overhead conveying technology, the AutoPocket system arranges suspended pockets containing picked goods from various warehouse areas into the precise sequence required for dispatch. Goods can be fed into the system automatically from any location in the warehouse and every pocket can be individually accessed. Of course, a pocket sorter is also ideal for processing returns cost-effectively, storing them in a dynamic buffer and making them immediately available for orders via totally automatic picking.

Single pool of stock

Goods are picked from storage containers retrieved from the OSR Shuttle store and placed into cartons (for store orders) or pockets (for e-com or store pick-up orders), so the automated store accommodates a single inventory for all sales channels. Pockets with single-item orders travel automatically to the packing stations, while those with items from multi-line orders are sequenced by the AutoPocket's matrix sortation algorithm. 


A pocket sorter can also help to synchronise fulfilment across multiple warehouse areas, whether manual or automated. Orders for consolidation can be picked manually via either a goods-to-person or person-to-goods process, or fully automatically by robot. With articles batch picked and inducted into pockets to increase efficiency, the pocket sorter can act as a pre-buffer to harmonise the various processing times. When all of an order's items are ready, the required pockets arrive at dispatch in the correct sequence.

Add an AI-enabled robot

Robots can also be incorporated into the solution, even retro-fitted to replace manual workstations. KNAPP's Pick-it-Easy Robot is the brainchild of collaboration with the Californian AI start-up, Covariant. It excels in tasks such as 3D perception and real-time motion planning, enabling it to learn rapidly how to handle unfamiliar items. The solution can be installed with minimal downtime and begins picking orders within days.

Retail expertise

With more than 40,000 shuttles and over 2.5 million pockets installed worldwide, KNAPP has vast experience in these versatile automation technologies for retail customers including ASOS, Boots, Clarks, Hugo Boss, John Lewis, M&S, Parfums Christian Dior, The Very Group and Zalando. 

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