Kroger and Ocado announced they would build their first automated robot warehouse in Monroe, Ohio. The $55 million investment will bring 410 new jobs to Monroe, a suburb north of Cincinnati. Kroger and Ocado will use the warehouse as a customer fulfillment center (CFC) and plan to open 20 similar facilities.
Kroger and online grocery retailer Ocado made their exclusive partnership public in May 2018. Now, they have identified the location of their first automated robot warehouse, which will be called the shed. Together, they plan to build 20 sheds or automated customer fulfillment centers, throughout the U.S. as the program expands during the next three years.
By partnering with Ocado, Kroger can take advantage of the U.K. retailer’s advanced warehouse technology and robotics. Ocado already has experience building huge, automated warehouses staffed with robots, which allow for fast deliveries. In one of its warehouses located in Andover, U.K., thousands of robots pack grocery orders and process 65,000 orders per week. Thanks to an air traffic control system, the robots move along a grid, communicate with each other and use charging bays to keep their batteries full.
For Ocado, Kroger is one of many grocery retailers that is interested in its technology. The U.K. company has previously licensed its tech to retailers in Sweden, France and Canada. However, the exclusive partnership it has with Kroger in the U.S. should prevent other American grocery chains from taking advantage of it.