The village of Pleasant Prairie, Wis., will be the home of Kroger's newest Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC), a 336,840-square-foot facility expected to create nearly 250 jobs. Pleasant Prairie is between Milwaukee and Chicago and is expected to streamline the delivery of online grocery orders to customers in Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and northwest Indiana, reports Chain Store Age.
Kroger's CFC model, introduced in 2018 in partnership with UK-based online grocer Ocado, combines vertical integration, machine learning and robotics with fast delivery service, reports CSA. CFC facilities leverage 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.
The CFC model includes CFCs where bots operate around a giant 3D grid, called "The Hive," which contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders. The bots retrieve items from The Hive and presents them to stations where they're sorted for delivery and packed, then they're loaded into refrigerated delivery vans, which each can store up to 20 orders. Algorithms optimize delivery routes, reports CSA.
"We are thrilled to launch Kroger Delivery in Pleasant Prairie, continuing our long-standing engagement in the state of Wisconsin. Our tradition of fresh is all about our customers, and this true milestone moment incorporates end-to-end cold solutions, including customized refrigerated vans, providing Kenosha County residents with everything fresh, every time," said Gabriel Arreaga, Kroger's senior VP and chief supply chain officer.
"Through our growing partnership, we are helping Kroger Delivery to introduce a world-leading online grocery proposition to their customers across the USA. Enabled by Ocado Group's unique, cutting-edge technology, this fulfillment center will introduce a step change in the kind of service and efficiency that shoppers across Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and northwest Indiana can expect from grocery e-commerce," said Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions.
Kroger currently operates CFCs in Monroe, Ohio; Groveland, Fla; Forest Park, Ga. (Atlanta); Dallas; and Pleasant Prairie. Additional customer fulfillment centers are slated for California; Frederick, Md.; Phoenix; Romulus, Mich. (Detroit); Cleveland; Charlotte, N.C., and Denver; as well as South Florida and the Northeast.