Selling groceries online is a uniquely challenging task. Food spoils quickly. It gets bruised and damaged easily. It needs to be stored at specific temperatures to ensure it stays fresh. All of this, plus the high cost of fulfilling and delivering orders in an industry with low-profit margins, means that selling groceries online has been difficult for grocers — until now.
Takeoff Technologies is a Boston-based startup founded in 2016. The company partners with grocery retailers to fulfill online grocery orders without compromising on price or speed. Their 23 (and counting) micro fulfillment centers (MFCs) are small, automated warehouses stocked full of groceries. When a shopper creates an online order, Takeoff’s MFCs automatically begin the order fulfillment process.
Takeoff’s strategic retail partners include global, blue-chip grocery companies like Albertsons, Majid Al Futtaim (Carrefour), Woolworths, and Loblaws, to name a few. These partners depend on Takeoff technology to work 24/7, 365 days a year. In other words, system downtime is detrimental. System failures are disruptive not only to Takeoff, but to their clients, and their downstream customers — the grocery shopper — as well. The Takeoff maintenance team must be available with dedicated technicians for each site and ready to stop asset failure before it happens.
Taking control of maintenance from the start
Takeoff launched their global Field Service and Maintenance team on June 1, 2021 to help clients operate and maintain the systems at each Takeoff site. The goal was to help customers keep their promise of just-in-time fulfillment (meaning orders filled less than 30 minutes after they are placed). A major breakdown in Takeoff’s system would mean a broken promise, which would jeopardize the shopper's experience.
To confirm this didn’t happen, the Takeoff team decided to take full ownership of maintenance at each facility. They decided to improve each site's reliability and availability, with three main goals:
- Reduce hardware failures by doing more preventive maintenance and synchronizing it worldwide.
- Improve reaction time by doing more planned work orders (both preventive and corrective maintenance) and develop a set of standard processes, schedules, data, tools, spare parts, and other resources for our technicians to perform their work.
- Increase customer satisfaction for the team and retail clients.
Similar work orders, different time zones
At project launch, Takeoff had 15 micro fulfillment centers worldwide with plans to expand over the next several months. With technicians spread across the globe, each site was managed differently. Maintaining various sites on different continents, in different time zones, became difficult. On top of that, when technicians appeared on site, there was no guarantee that they would have access to the right tools, information, and processes to complete their work.
It was critical to confirm the team had access to the same resources, processes, and shared culture — no matter where they were. To do this, they needed the right technology.
Choosing the right CMMS system
When searching for the right technology, Takeoff knew they were looking for something specific. They wanted something to help their team react quickly, with little waste. It had to offer enough customization to support their growing business and yet be simple enough to be picked up in a few days without extensive training. And lastly, it had to offer the flexibility to match the team’s workflow the company was implementing.
As Takeoff maintenance technicians used to say: “The system should work for me and not the other way around."
Fiix® was the answer to that.
Within a month and a half of making their decision, Takeoff implemented Fiix at 10 of the 15 sites built. By August 2022 they have 18 sites in Fiix out of the 22 built and we will reach 25 out of 26 built by the end of October 2022.
Achieving 99.8% availability
Since adopting Fiix, Takeoff has tripled mean time between failure (MTBF) from 364 hours in 2021 to 1168 hours in 2022. Reliability is up from 63% in 2021 to 83% today, and overall availability is 99.8%. Not to mention that clients can now fulfill orders in under 30 minutes.
Building a future of intelligent maintenance
Takeoff’s next goal is to use the maintenance data collected to optimize the timing of preventive maintenance work at each site and on each asset. They have already started to do that by putting the runtime of critical parts, like critical motors, into the CMMS. Takeoff uses the data from these assets to adjust PM frequency before parts show signs of wear and tear.
This piece was written by Giovanni Savoca: Vice President of Engineering, Network & MFC Design at Takeoff Technologies. We’d like to thank Mr. Savoca for allowing us to share his content and the Takeoff Technologies story.