Asda has announced the roll out of 270 “powered stair climbers” to enable delivery drivers to carry crates up staircases in high rise urban developments.
The supermarket has said the machines will be used for “customers living in flats and properties where access is difficult”.
The machines manoeuvre themselves up flights of stairs on caterpillar tracks and weigh 13.5kg, carrying up to 85kg of grocery orders.
Asda say the stair climbers, which are made by material handling company Stanley, will “reduce the need for manual handling”.
“This is expected to result in a reduction in time spent at the doorstep, while improving the overall customer experience and reducing the risk of manual handling injuries,” an Asda spokesperson said.
The grocery giant has seen its supermarket capacity increase to 850,000 slots from 400,000 as shoppers turned to grocery delivery during the pandemic.
Asda vice president of online grocery Simon Gregg added: “We know that our drivers are making an increasing number of deliveries in urban areas where many customers live in flats and apartments, which often require access up several flights of stairs.”
“Through collaboration with Stanley, we have been able to create a powered stair climber that suits the needs of our drivers and growing online operation, which in turn will see us reduce time at the doorstep and improve the customer experience.”
Asda have signed a contract with Stanley which covers servicing and certification of its new stair climbing technology for five years.
Stanley managing director Graham Sharp commented: “We are delighted that Asda has recognised the proven benefits of improving delivery times and colleague safety through the use of specially designed, lightweight powered stair climbers and in doing so, has become the first UK supermarket to introduce these machines.”
“Increasing home delivery capacity whilst reducing the risk of injury to personnel are two areas of focus for last mile grocery teams.”