The automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) vendor Alert Innovation today opened a new headquarters building in Massachusetts, saying the expanded space would help it meet continued demand for its goods-to-person technology led by its largest client, the retail giant Walmart.
Founded in 2016, the startup had already installed a micro fulfillment center (MFC) by 2019 at a Salem, New Hampshire, Walmart store that helped the Bentonville, Arkansas-based mega-retailer ramp up its fast-growing online grocery sales.
And in 2021, Walmart said it would expand that automated pickup and delivery fulfillment model to “dozens of locations, with many more to come” by expanding its contract for Alert Innovation’s “Alphabot” mobile robotics solution, alongside related technology from Atlanta-based system integrator Dematic and Tel Aviv-based robotics startup Fabric.
None of the partners has disclosed the dollar amount of that deal, but Alert Innovation today has more than five customer sites across the country under construction, representing a small portion of its planned Walmart installations, Alert CEO Fritz Morgan said in a remarks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The fast-growing company current employs some 375 people alongside 100 contractors, and is hiring five to 10 new workers—known at the firm as “Alertians”—per week, he said.
By moving from its original site in nearby North Billerica, Massachusetts, the company’s new home in Andover, Massachusetts, offers a much larger space to accommodate the rapid expansion of its business, the company said. The new building includes about 70,000 square feet of office space and 30,000 square feet of lab space, and is designed to house approximately 75% of the company’s workforce.
The firm’s fast growth is a sign of a broader trend for retail stores to evolve from simply offering consumers a self-serve shopping experience to doubling as e-commerce fulfillment sites that support same-day pickup and delivery offerings, according to John Lert, Alert’s founder and executive chairman, who also spoke at the event.
“Our offices in North Billerica served us very well as we launched the company and started to deploy our suite of automated fulfillment solutions. Now that we’re in a phase of rapid deployment and team growth, we need more room for our engineers and operations team to efficiently take us to the next level,” Lert said in a release.