Kroger Doubles Down on Automation at Ohio Distribution Center

Retailer to expand use of robotics, automation solutions as it builds out Great Lakes Distribution Center
Knapp Runpick palletizer
Photograph courtesy of Kroger

Cincinnati-based Kroger is expanding and upgrading its Great Lakes Distribution Center in Delaware, Ohio, building out the facility by 130,000 square feet and deploying automation technology from Atlanta-based Knapp to help move product to stores that much faster. 

"The expansion of the facility is part of the ongoing transformation of our supply chain network, and this project will more than double our capacity while delivering innovation and scalability that can grow with demand," Kroger VP of Supply Chain and Network Strategy Tony Lucchino said in a news release. 

"The technology investment in the Great Lakes Distribution Center has been designed to add a new level of flexibility to the Kroger supply chain network and deliver a resilient approach to investments in automation," Knapp CEO Josef Mentzer added.

In the distribution center, Knapp's automated order, storage and retrieval shuttles deliver grocery cases in a specific sequence to Runpick robotic palletizers to maximize efficiency of the retrieval and palletizing processes.

The Great Lakes facility opened in 2003 and serves 115 stores in central and northwest Ohio as well as southeast Michigan and the Ohio River Valley region. Renovations are underway and are expected to be completed later this summer. 

Earlier this year, Kroger announced its ambition to double online sales and profitability by 2023—a feat it looks to achieve in part through its investments in automation to boost supply-chain and fulfillment efficiency. 


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