The Kroger Co. is unveiling plans for its sixth automated customer fulfillment center (CFC).
The supermarket giant is partnering with Ocado, one of the world's largest dedicated online grocery retailers, to build a CFC in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc. The center — an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities — is also known as a “shed.” The Pleasant Prairie CFC will measure 350,000 sq. ft. and is expected to create up to 400 new jobs.
In June 2019, Kroger broke ground on its first CFC in Monroe, Ohio and has since announced additional locations in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and in the Mid-Atlantic region. The CFC will become operational 24 months after the site breaks ground and will serve customers in Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northwest Indiana. While Kroger did not release any specific cost estimates for the project, other sheds have been estimated to carry a $55 million price tag.
"Kroger is incredibly excited to construct one of our industry-leading Customer Fulfillment Centers in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., in relationship with Ocado to bring fresh food to our customers faster than ever before," said Robert Clark, Kroger's senior VP of supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing. "Through our strategic partnership, we are engineering a model for the region, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience for our customers in Wisconsin and Illinois."
Kroger and Ocado entered into an exclusive partnership in May 2018, in a deal that enables Kroger to leverage Ocado’s smart platform that supports online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery capabilities.
Building new technologically advanced CFCs is part of a larger strategy, called “Restock Kroger,” which the company introduced in October 2017. In particular, the CFCs align with Restock Kroger priorities to fund technology and infrastructure upgrades, as well as to leverage robotics and artificial intelligence to transform the customer experience.