Wednesday 23 April 2014

Ocado - the real 'backstory' to a home delivery service

According to Graeme Burton of Computing, in discarding the idea of off-the-shelf software from the start, the development of bespoke software has taken Ocado into cutting-edge research into robotics, artificial systems, machine learning, simulation and more, as it bids to perfect its systems – and, potentially, to turn the fruits of this research into a platform that it can use to expand or offer as products or services in their own right.

“We are building an end-to-end platform that starts with the customer placing their order on a web shop or mobile and ends in their order arriving in a one-hour delivery slot at the kitchen table,” says Ocado’s technology director, Paul Clarke.

In other words, there’s much more to Ocado than just vans and warehouses, and it isn’t just implementing technology – it’s inventing it.

The deal they signed with Morrisons [in July 2013] was intended as the first of many. There won’t be other grocery ones in the UK because it’s exclusive, but in other territories and in non-food they say they can and will do others. In fact, work is also under way to “re-platform” Ocado’s non-warehouse technology for the cloud so that it can be rolled out to others, either elsewhere in the world or in the UK for non-supermarket applications.

In addition the vision systems that Ocado has been developing will enable its robots to be able to identify different goods, classify them and deal with them appropriately, all along the supply chain.

See more detail here

Given the above rate of innovation, it may be worthwhile for suppliers to embark on a deeper level of partnership with Ocado, not only to optimise current use of home delivery, but in order to anticipate the potential of the technology and its application both home and abroad…

In other words, an opportunity to help your colleagues in other countries share in Ocado’s leading edge applications, at all levels…

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