The Kroger Co. is opening its newest innovative delivery facility in the Denver market.
America’s largest grocer is opening its newest Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) in Aurora, Colo., part of the Denver metro area. The approximately 300,000-square-foot facility will reach customers up to 90 minutes from the site.
The center currently employs more than 200 associates, with plans to expand to more than 400 total associates in the future. It is the eighth CFC Kroger has opened in the U.S. so far. The grocer opened its seventh CFC in the Detroit area in October 2022.
Kroger partners with Ocado in fast delivery hub model
Kroger Delivery utilizes the CFC model, first introduced in partnership with U.K.-based online grocer Ocado in May 2018. The model combines vertical integration, machine learning, and robotics with affordable and fast delivery service for fresh food. 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 delivery network relies on automated fulfillment centers where more than 1,000 bots whizz around giant 3D grids, orchestrated by proprietary air-traffic control systems in the unlicensed spectrum. The grid, known as The Hive, contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders. As customers' orders near delivery times, the bots retrieve products from The Hive and are presented at pick stations for items to be sorted for delivery, a process governed by algorithms designed to ensure that items are intelligently packed.
For example, fragile items are placed on top, bags are evenly weighted, and each order is optimized to fit into the lowest number of bags, reducing plastic use. After being packed, groceries are loaded into a refrigerated delivery van, which can store up to 20 orders. Machine learning algorithms optimize delivery routes, considering factors like road conditions and optimal fuel efficiency. Drivers may travel up to 90 miles with orders from facilities to make deliveries.
“Kroger Delivery, proudly serving King Soopers and City Market, will connect more Coloradans to a convenient shopping experience," said Rebekah Manis, senior director, Kroger Delivery Fulfillment Centers. "Delivery customers can save with personalized digital coupons and fuel points on the products their families need, want and love. Kroger Delivery means more customers can enjoy high-
"We're proud to bring Ocado's technology to Aurora, and to help launch a service that will power world-class customer experiences for Kroger Delivery shoppers in the Denver metro area," said Mark Bentley, president, Americas for Ocado Solutions. "We are now live with eight CFCs around the U.S. supporting Kroger Delivery to reach customers across 14 states. As we continue to expand this network nationwide, we're introducing a step change in online grocery experience for Kroger shoppers, powered by some of the most sophisticated technology applied to any sector of the global economy."
In addition to Aurora, Kroger currently operates CFCs in Monroe, Ohio; Groveland, Fla.; Forest Park (Atlanta); Pleasant Prairie, Wis., Dallas; and Romulus (Detroit); with additional customer fulfillment centers slated for California; Frederick, Md; Phoenix; Cleveland; Charlotte, N.C.; South Florida; and the Northeast.
Based in Cincinnati, Kroger operates 2,800 stores under a variety of banners in 35 U.S. states, including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith's, King Soopers, Fry's, QFC, City Market, Owen's, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker's, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick 'n Save, Metro Market, and Mariano's.