Grocery giant, Kroger introduced the country’s first Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC), that combines vertical integration, machine learning, and robotics with affordable, friendly, and fast delivery service for fresh food. The center is located in Monroe, Ohio. In May 2018, Kroger and Ocado formed exclusive partnership to introduce proprietary technology solutions focused on artificial intelligence (AI), advanced robotics and automation, and creative solutions for more seamless and efficient fulfillment, picking and delivery capabilities. The goal was to provide customers anything, anytime and anywhere, while expanding the grocer’s reach.
In 2020, Kroger’s digital business scaled to over $10 billion on a record digital sales increase of 116%. The company intends to open more automated CFCs across a range of sizes over the next few years, while rolling out its software solutions to stores in collaboration with Kroger’s seamless platform to support fulfillment of curbside pickup orders.
Kroger Delivery is a vertically integrated network, enables coverage of up to 90 miles from the hub. In the highly automated Customer Fulfillment Centers, more than 1,000 robots whizz around giant 3D grids, fueled by proprietary air-traffic control systems in the unlicensed spectrum. The grid, aka The Hive, contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders. The robots retrieve products from The Hive and are presented at pick stations for items to be sorted for delivery, algorithms ensure items are intelligently packed–fragile items on top, bags evenly weighted, and each order is optimized to fit into the lowest number of bags.
Kroger Delivery vans can store up to 20 orders. Powerful machine learning algorithms dynamically optimize delivery routes, considering road conditions and optimal fuel efficiency.
At every CFC, on-site associates will support delivery operations and help process, package, and load orders. The Monroe CFC will employ nearly 400 associates, with roles focusing on customer service and engagement, engineering, operations, inventory and quality management, and transportation.
Original Source: Kroger