Supermarket Chains Installing Mechanization in new Distribution Centers


The Kroger Company has announced that the second of a series of up to 20 proposed mechanized distribution centers will be located in Forest Park, GA near Atlanta.  The facility will be designed and erected by Ocado of the UK.  This center will be followed by installations in Monroe, OH and Groveland, FL. 


Ahold Delhaize, based in Holland, owners of Food Lion, Stop and Go and other U.S. banners is cooperating with Alert Innovations to mechanize DCs.  Albertsons and Walmart have similar programs to install robotic fulfillment centers.


Common Sense Robotics is responsible for a project located in an underground parking garage in downtown Tel Aviv, Israel.  The installation extending over 18,000 square feet represents a micro-fulfillment concept to provide customers with groceries.


Mechanized distribution and collection centers reduce labor, enhance service and are now practical through advances in robotics and machine learning.  It remains to seen whether capital invested provides an acceptable quantifiable return commensurate with alternative initiatives.  Given the relative over-supply of supermarkets, and alternatives including deep discount stores, convenience stores and urban cashless and no-checkout locations, automation represents the potential to enhance profitability through labor saving and enhanced customer service.