Kroger Breaks Ground on Robotic Distribution Center
CINCINNATI, OH - As automation and additional powers lended by technology become even more valuable amid the COVID-19 climate, Kroger is charging forward with its innovative Customer Fulfillment Centers (CFC) in relationship with high-tech partner Ocado.
The Frederick, Maryland-based facility has just broken ground, beginning the digging and shaping of a 350,000-square-foot structure with the ability to create as many as 500 jobs for the area.
One of the biggest factors of the project capturing attention, though, is its location—Kroger has no physical stores in the vicinity, nor any plans for them, according to news source wtop news. Yet the move is the grocer’s first expansion into the Washington and Baltimore region for home delivery.
"Kroger is incredibly excited to construct one of our industry-leading Customer Fulfillment Centers in Maryland in relationship with Ocado to bring fresh food to our customers faster than ever before," Robert Clark, Kroger's Senior Vice President of Supply Chain, Manufacturing, and Sourcing, said upon the reveal of the planned facility in January. "Through our strategic partnership, we are engineering a model for the region, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience."
The closest to its traditional strategy in the area are under its Harris Teeter banner, which operates several stores in the DC market but will not be connected to the new CFC, per the report.
While the project will not be completed for 24 months, we are in a time at which the vision behind such a plan is unquestionable as the need for providing employment opportunities while utilizing robotics to ensure as hands-free an environment as possible has never been higher.
As to whether this new CFC will be the catalyst for more retailers looking to balance the best of both worlds, we will certainly be watching to find out.