402: Pio Delivers Warehouse Automation for SMBs

402: Pio Delivers Warehouse Automation for SMBs

In today’s episode of The New Warehouse Podcast, host Kevin Lawton interviewed Magne Hatteland, the Vice President and Head of Pio. Pio is an offshoot of AutoStore, a leading provider of warehouse automation solutions. Magne shared insights into the challenges small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face in the e-commerce market and how Pio aims to address them with its innovative automation technology. Magne and his team recognized the need to make automation accessible to smaller businesses that couldn’t afford the traditional models. This realization led to Pio, a solution tailored to the SMB market.

The Need for Automation in the SMB Market

Magne highlighted the difficulties faced by SMBs in managing their warehousing operations. While larger companies benefit from experienced supply chain and warehouse managers, SMBs often lack the necessary expertise. These smaller e-commerce companies, especially direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses, struggle with complex warehouse operations as they grow. Magne emphasized the need to support these companies and provide them with automation options.

The Concept Behind Pio: Plug-and-Play Automation

To cater to the specific requirements of SMBs, Pio has developed a unique approach to automation. Magne explained that the traditional AutoStore model involved customization for each customer, resulting in time-consuming setup and integration processes. Their solution, on the other hand, revolves around a standardized version of the AutoStore system designed for easy implementation in smaller e-commerce operations.

Pio’s pick-and-pack operation and its plug-in for Shopify allow SMBs to integrate the automation system within a week. By simplifying the setup and eliminating complicated integrations, they make automation accessible to SMBs without needing expensive consultants or extensive experience in warehouse management. The focus is on providing a plug-and-play solution that enhances efficiency and minimizes complexity.

The Financial Benefits and ROI of Pio for SMBs

One significant concern for SMBs considering automation is the financial investment required and the uncertainty surrounding its long-term viability. Magne addressed this issue by explaining how Pio’s business model caters to the financial constraints of SMBs.

Unlike traditional AutoStore setups, where customers purchase the entire system, Pio customers only need to buy the grid structure and bins. This reduces the upfront investment, making it more affordable for SMBs. Additionally, Pio offers a pay-per-pick model, where all costs, including software, storage, returns, and service, are bundled into a fixed price per pick.

Magne emphasized their financial model makes sense for SMBs even with relatively low order volumes, with an ROI typically achieved within one and a half years. By keeping costs predictable and offering scalability, Pio enables SMBs to improve their efficiency and reduce labor requirements, leading to significant financial savings.

Key Takeaways from Pio

  • Accessibility for SMBs: Pio provides affordable and accessible automation solutions for small to medium-sized e-commerce businesses with limited warehousing experience through a standardized, plug-and-play system.
  • Flexible and Scalable Solution: With Pio, businesses can start small and grow their automation system alongside their operations. Pio’s dynamic approach allows adding robots as the business expands, ensuring scalability and adaptability.
  • Financial Viability and ROI: Pio’s cost structure, including the pay-per-pick model, makes automation financially viable for SMBs. With a focus on reducing manual labor and improving efficiency, businesses can achieve a positive return on investment within a relatively short period.

Listen to the episode below and leave your thoughts in the comments.

Guest Information

For more information on Pio, click here.

To connect with Magne on LinkedIn, click here.

For more information about warehousing solutions for SMBs, check out the podcasts below. 

393: A Conversation with Shaun Hagen from Carton Cloud

364: Auto-FC and the Automation Journey

358: Ware2Go at Manifest 2023

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© The New Warehouse.
All rights reserved.