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H-E-B is latest grocer to deploy micro-fulfillment centers

A Texas-based regional grocer is joining the burgeoning trend of supporting omnichannel services with automated micro-fulfillment technology.

H-E-B is rolling out a number of automated micro-fulfillment centers to support the chain’s curbside pickup and delivery business. The retailer’s new micro-fulfillment centers feature the Swisslog AutoStore micro-fulfillment platform, SynQ software and pick stations.

Micro-fulfillment technology automates picking and packing, using robotic systems to efficiently locate and retrieve products stored in a space too compact for human workers. Grocers including Fresh DirectWalmart, Albertsons, and Loblaw are all using micro-fulfillment at some locations.

H-E-B intends to leverage the automated micro-fulfillment centers to streamline online fulfillment and move it closer to the customer, efficiently meeting the growing demand for curbside pickup without negatively impacting customer experience in-store. 

“COVID-19 and anticipated behavioral changes have created increased urgency around the need for automation within many grocery operations,” said Mitch Hayes, VP of e-commerce and retail, Swisslog Logistics Automation, Americas. “E-grocery automation is no longer an option…it’s a requirement for survival and continued growth.” 

H-E-B is a privately-held retail chain based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 400 stores throughout the state of Texas, as well as in northeast Mexico.

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