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Automated Microfulfillment Solutions

Microfulfillment is a logistics model that places goods close to the end user by integrating compact, innovative fulfillment solutions in densely populated urban areas, where large-scale operations aren’t feasible. Microfulfillment centers are usually defined as operations as small as 10,000 square feet, and may be located in previously vacated buildings or may take up a small part of a larger operation. Big-box retailers, for example, are moving toward a business model that includes more warehouse space and microfulfillment solutions while still offering customers an in-person shopping experience.

For many in the industry, micro- and nanofulfillment are seen as ways to create a lean fulfillment operation. Instead of focusing on large-scale warehousing at distant facilities, both micro- and nanofulfillment can allow merchants to store a limited amount of goods as close to the consumer as possible, saving on cost and preventing many of the logistical hassles associated with warehousing and distribution. For small-scale operations especially, micro- and nano- solutions lower the barriers to entry.

At PeakLogix, we’re a brand agnostic material handling systems integrator that specializes in innovative, bespoke automated solutions. By partnering with us, you can increase the consistency and efficiency of your distribution processes, from inbound receiving to outbound shipments and everything in between. We deliver customized solutions tailored to our partner’s needs that address issues ranging from ergonomics and employee safety to fully automated warehousing solutions.

Considerations for microfulfillment operations

Online order volume

Consumers want to be able to order goods online, and when they do they prefer to have options in how and when their goods are picked up or delivered. Microfulfillment solutions are enabling stores to meet these often competing needs.

Microfulfillment allows stores to offer curbside pickup in under an hour or to deliver goods the same day. It does this by maximizing efficiencies in both the storage and retrieval of merchandise. Instead of the labor-intensive and mistake-prone process of having employees manually pick goods from the sales floor, microfulfillment uses automated systems like vertical lift modules to store goods in the densest possible configurations and retrieve them


Microfulfillment operations are usually defined as being between 10,000 and 45,000 square feet. Anything smaller might be considered a nanofulfillment solution, and anything larger has operations that are better controlled by traditional warehousing solutions.

Microfulfillment enables companies to maximize the use of space. As more and more commerce shifts to online markets, traditional stores are either adapting to the changing landscape or closing their doors. Stores built decades ago, that find themselves with space they aren’t using as their consumers shift to the internet, can reclaim that territory by developing an omni-channel business model that gives consumers the options and delivery speeds they want.

At the same time, startups that lack warehouse space or that are looking for innovative business models can look to convert under-utilized real estate. Instead of investing multi-millions of dollars in expansive warehousing space and all of the robotics required to enable it, more affordable, primely situated space can be found and its throughput maximized.

Last mile delivery

The proverbial last-mile – the distance between a distribution center and a delivery point – accounts for over half of the cost of delivering goods. Missed delivery windows, inadequate routing, long distances between stops in rural areas, and heavy traffic in cities are just a few of the issues that plague the final delivery.

While they don’t completely solve the last mile challenge in logistics, microfulfillment solutions do address many of its pain points. They are small and affordable enough to be located near the end user. In many use-cases, they give consumers the option to pick up their goods on-site instead of having them delivered. And they give consumers better visibility into where in the fulfillment process their purchase is.

Advantages to microfulfillment

Faster order fulfillment

Microfulfillment creates a more agile, increasingly distributed logistics solution that puts merchandise near the consumer so that orders can be delivered, or picked up on-site, in as little as an hour.

Established retailers can designate part of their square footage to micro fulfillment solutions that can automatically pick and process orders for local customers. And startups can use software with predictive modeling to forecast and keep stocked the goods consumers will want, so that their operations remain lean and flexible.

Optimize space

Microfulfillment solutions can be incorporated into a facility’s existing space in a way that optimizes its use. More SKUs stored more densely and retrieved automatically means that space can once again be dedicated to shoppers without the need for picking operations to happen in the same space.

Scale for growth

Microfulfillment solutions are modular and flexible, and easily scale with an operation’s changing needs. Capacity can be increased and expanded so that fulfillment operations are aligned with consumer expectations.

Microfulfillment solutions are designed for urban areas, either to occupy part of an existing retail store or to reclaim underutilized real estate in dark stores. With increasing rates of urbanization, and increased demand for fast delivery, having solutions that can meet the needs of today and scale with the needs of tomorrow is key to economical growth.

Accurate picking

In order to maximize the use of space while staying accurate, smart storage and retrieval solutions are needed. Manual slotting and picking is too inefficient and error prone, and to accommodate the necessary speeds and precision for microfulfillment, companies need innovative, automated solutions.

A key to accurate slotting and picking in the densest possible configurations is the software used to synchronize the operation’s equipment and processes. Warehouse management software can direct orders to be picked in a way that minimizes wasted motion and maximizes the use of resources.

Closer to consumer

One goal of microfulfillment is to meet the need of getting goods to consumers as quickly as possible by maximizing the use of underutilized space. By incorporating microfulfillment solutions into existing operations, stores can meet consumers where they are at, while also fulfilling their expectation for fast online processing.

Important considerations when evaluating a systems integration partner for a micro-fulfillment implementation

Are they consultative?

When partnering with a systems integrator, one of the risks material handling companies face is trying to work with a partner that promises more than they can deliver. The integration partner smiles through consultations and then, behind the scenes, desperately tries to invent the technology they need to deliver on their promises. They miss deadline after deadline until their client reaches a point of no return – they’re willing to justify their costs by seeing any kind of benefit from their investment. Even if those benefits are well below what was originally planned and agreed to.

PeakLogix is not that kind of partner. We are fully consultative, and prioritize your goals and needs. We undertake a thorough discovery process so that we understand both the roadblocks you face now and the goals you have for the future. Our solutions are designed to help you move past your roadblocks, and scale with your business growth. We don’t offer solutions in a top-down fashion that refuses input and denies questions, but collaborate with you and provide the recommendations we believe will best suit your needs.

Are they vendor agnostic?

Vendor agnostic solutions providers like PeakLogix don’t push their favorite suppliers onto their customers. Instead, we work with our suppliers to find and test the applications for which their product is the best fit. We don’t pitch untested products as viable solutions, but rather look for the best solution that already has a track record of solid performance.

Being open to integrating the best solutions on the market — regardless of their manufacturer — means we can truly optimize solutions for our clients, and quickly adjust to changing demands.

Do they develop tailored solutions for your unique challenges?

Being a consultative, vendor agnostic firm means that we look at every project with fresh eyes. Yes, we have decades of experience that inform our decisions and help us quickly find solutions to problems — but we don’t try to force the same solution on every client.

Instead, we work with our clients to discover both their pain points and goals. And our approach often leads to two positive outcomes. First, the discovery of unknown root causes to problems that allow us to address systemic issues with solutions of a customized design. And second, the application of scalable solutions that will both meet today’s challenges, and scale in ways the company needs to meet its future goals.

Can they scale to your needs?

The changing urban landscape, an aging workforce, the large-scale adoption of ecommerce, and the increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning have created challenges and brought opportunities that are continuing to change industries in every sector. Businesses need solutions that are more responsive than ever, with the ability to scale both up and down to meet a company’s growth as well as periodic changes in demand.

PeakLogix has been solving the material-handling needs of companies of every size, and in many industries, for over 30 years. We are dedicated to our own continuous improvement because we know that designing systems that will adapt to your changing business needs means being knowledgeable about changes in the industry. By offering adaptive solutions where appropriate, we bring added value to our partners.

Are they available when you need them?

PeakLogix started in 1989 as a material handling and systems integrator serving clients across the Mid-Atlantic. Over the past 30 years, we’ve completed thousands of successful projects and have grown to become a thought leader in the industry and a national provider of innovative solutions, software systems, and automated technologies.

From the beginning of our working relationships with clients, our team works to discover your goals and challenges. We collaborate with you to develop solutions that meet your needs today and also lay the groundwork for your future growth. When your project is complete, we offer services including 24/7 system support, operator training, and maintenance and repairs.

At PeakLogix, our partnerships are our priority.

What logistics, automation, and distribution solutions should you consider for your micro-fulfillment solution?

stow e.scala®

Tote-compatible processes can be enhanced by e.scala® from stow, a fully automated goods-to-person order fulfillment system. With e.scala®, systems of as few as 500 containers can be easily cost-justified, and the system can be scaled up to meet the needs of much larger operations. The system is designed for high-density, double-deep storage that gives 100% uptime 24/7.

The benefits of e.scala include a climate-controlled environment, on-the-fly recharging of its robots, and low-maintenance, automated, multi-level storage that is free of conveyors, lifts, or sequencers. Instead, totes are moved on sled-like robots that move through the storage area like cars in a parking garage. If a robot should need maintenance, it can simply be removed from the rotation and replaced, without impacting the rest of the system.

WMS Software (ScottTech PickPro®)

ScottTech PickPro® is our proprietary Warehouse Management Software (WMS). It’s a fully independent, system-agnostic, web-based software solution that can control all aspects of distribution, and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of any material handling company.

ScottTech PickPro® can serve as a standalone solution, or integrate with your ERP. It can incorporate AS/RS equipment and all the peripherals, track and manage inventory of both parts and goods, and layer seamlessly with your software architecture to provide granular feedback on, and control of, your operations.

Horizontal Carousels

Horizontal Carousels are a cost-effective way to quickly add storage capacity and increase put away and retrieval accuracy and efficiency. They are ideal for high throughput facilities and high speed picking, and can increase storage density by up to 75%.

Horizontal Carousels are generally arranged into pods or zones. Multiple carousels in a pod can create variable access points to create an efficient, worker-friendly layout that can triple average pick rates.

Pick to Light

Pick-to-light is a cost-effective solution that streamlines warehouse picking operations and increases picking speed, accuracy, and productivity. Especially in omnichannel fulfillment centers, pick-to-light solutions enable the reliable processing of high numbers of SKUs, while increasing efficiency.

Pick-to-light solutions are often a good entry point for a warehouse’s automation transformation. They can work as standalone systems, or integrate with Warehouse Management Software, enabling them to easily scale with a company’s growth.

Barcode Technologies

Barcode labels and scanners were first introduced in the retail sector in 1974, where they increased grocery tellers’ speeds and accuracies, and helped keep more accurate inventory counts.

For the same reasons, barcode technology is an integral part of many high-throughput distribution centers. Combined with a robust WMS and smart technologies, barcode scanning also enables real-time visibility into the movement of goods throughout a facility.


Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RSs) optimize productivity and operational throughput through the combination of data-driven optimization, warehouse management software, and labor reallocation. Especially in ecommerce, the manual storage and retrieval of small pieces can drain a facility’s profitability. By automating this non-value-adding task, companies can increase both profitability and employee morale.

Any business that deals with the movement and storage of physical goods needs fast, accurate, and efficient storage and retrieval systems. AS/RSs integrate with a facility’s WMS to allow for increased throughput in decanting, reracking, and conveyance of goods; expanded floorspace through the maximization of vertical storage; reduced or avoided capital expenses related to expansions and reallocations; and lowered labor costs.


Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) enhance productivity and workflow in both manufacturing and distribution facilities. AGVs help streamline processes, decrease delays, and move heavy, bulky materials efficiently and safely.

Guided vehicles use a number of navigational methods, tailored to your facility’s needs. They can be customized and programmed to follow the paths in a facility that are safest for staff and most efficient. They can be an integral part of a facility’s material handling and also programmed for complementary tasks such as trash collection or other housekeeping tasks.

Vertical Lift Modules

Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) are ideal for expanding a facility’s footprint by maximizing vertical storage while also improving throughput rates and reducing labor costs. Vertical lift modules can be ideal for small parts and pieces, as they use inserters and extractors to automatically move trays of goods in and out of compact storage. They can also work with cases, totes, and large items.

VLMs provide user-level access for restricted goods, have basic user controls, and integrate with existing software management systems. Because of their small footprint, they optimize vertical space while freeing up valuable floor space.

Pick Modules

Pick modules use pallet or carton flow racks to push eaches, cartons, totes, or containers through a facility. PeakLogix integrates a variety of pick modules that can be tailored to your facility’s needs.

Pick modules can allow operators to pick small parts quickly and reliably, increasing speed and accuracy in assembly, manufacturing, or distribution processes.

Advance your operations.

Schedule a consultation.

Tell us about your needs and we’ll have someone contact you to talk about the various microfulfillment solutions for your operations.