After three years of planning, Kroger has finally gone live with its leading-edge automated warehouse concept known as a customer fulfillment center (CFC).
The supermarket giant and Ocado, one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers, are introducing the CFC model in Monroe, Ohio, a city north of Cincinnati. Kroger broke ground on the $55 million, 375,000-sq.-ft., high-tech customer fulfillment center in June 2019.
The CFC model combines vertical integration, machine learning, and robotics with affordable and fast delivery service for fresh food. In May 2018, Kroger and Ocado formed an exclusive partnership to introduce CFCs in the U.S. The facility leverages proprietary technology solutions focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced robotics and automation to create more seamless and efficient fulfillment, picking and delivery capabilities for enhanced digital commerce capabilities across the U.S.
How it WorksIn the highly automated CFCs, over 1,000 robots travel around giant 3D grids, orchestrated by proprietary air-traffic control systems in the unlicensed spectrum. The grid, known as “The Hive,” contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders.