The Kroger Co. is fortifying its delivery services in the Denver metropolitan region with the addition of a nearly 300,000-square-foot customer fulfillment center in Aurora, Colo. that will create 400 new jobs. This new delivery network will be powered by Kroger’s long-time partner fulfillment partner the Ocado Group, which uses a combination of AI, advanced robotics and automation.
Within the new fulfillment center, more than 1,000 bots can retrieve products and customer orders from a 3D grid known as The Hive. Bots drop products at pick stations where they are sorted and prepared for delivery, relying on algorithms that intelligently pack orders by:
- Placing fragile items on top of other, more resilient products;
- Ensuring bags are evenly weighted; and
- Optimizing each order to fit into fewer bags, reducing plastic use.
Following the packing process, goods are moved to a refrigerated delivery van that can hold up to 20 orders, for deliveries up to 90 miles from the fulfillment center. To improve efficiency, machine learning algorithms are used to optimize delivery routes, taking into account considerations such as road conditions and fuel use.
“We are thrilled to expand and introduce our innovative Kroger Fulfillment Network to one of the fastest growing areas in the country and have the opportunity to grow our workforce,” said Gabriel Arreaga, SVP and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Kroger in a statement. “Through the incredible partnership and support from the City of Aurora and Adams County, Kroger Delivery can accelerate its commitment to provide exceptional customer service through our state-of-the-art facility and end-to-end cold solutions, including custom-built refrigerated vans, to ensure our delivery customers receive the freshest products directly to their doorstep throughout the Denver region.”
The new Denver-area facility joins a roster of Kroger customer fulfillment centers in:
- Monroe, Ohio;
- Groveland, Fla.;
- Forest Park, Ga., which serves Atlanta;
- Dallas; and
- Pleasant Prairie, Wis.