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Nordstrom to expand use of warehouse robotics

US department store chain Nordstrom is set to increase the use of robotics technology in its West Coast warehouse facilities.

In San Jose, the retailer has implemented a combination of technology from Attabotics and Tompkins Robotics to modernise its inventory storage and sortation processes – and it said the plan is to implement the same system in its ‘omni hub’ in Torrance, California.

According to Nordstrom, the new system uses up to an estimated 90% less footprint within its San Jose site, allowing the business to store and sort its products more efficiently, and ultimately get items into customers faster than it could before.

The Attabotics structure can reportedly house aisles worth of products in a compact space and has the flexibility to fit into a variety of spaces. Tompkins Robotics then utilises small autonomous robots to sort the products by orders, shipping destination and shipping timing. 

Employees work in conjunction with the technology, inspecting the product quality, order accuracy and packaging prior to items being shipped.

By implementing the technology in Torrance, Nordstrom hopes it will help improve how it serves its customers in Los Angeles, which is the company's largest market.

“Every location should be able to provide customers with what they want and on their terms,” Nordstrom said in its official blog, this week.

“To help accomplish this, retailers must abandon the "one-size fits all" approach to supply chain. We're reimagining our supply chain to better enable this shopping experience, while also making the entire process seamless and operationally simple for our employees.”

In addition to upgrading its warehouse facilities, Nordstrom is opening up its supply chain to ensure more products are available when customers order online or in stores.