Ahold Delhaize’s The Giant Company partners with Swisslog for automated ecommerce fulfillment

Date : 17 February 2021

Stewart Samuel

Program Director - Canada

The Giant Company is partnering with Swisslog to provide automation technology featuring AutoStore at its new GIANT Direct ecommerce fulfillment centre in Philadelphia, USA.

Building an omnichannel supply chain

This pilot comes as Ahold Delhaize continues to expand its ecommerce fulfilment capabilities as part of building a stronger omnichannel supply chain. Following the significant growth of ecommerce over the last year, the company is focusing on evolving its infrastructure to optimise pickup and delivery.

AutoStore + Peapod Digital Labs

The ecommerce fulfillment centre (EFC) is intended to help meet customer demand in Center City and South Philadelphia. The 124,000 sq ft facility will fulfil around 15,000 online orders per week, for delivery to customers’ homes. It is anticipated to open in November 2021, significantly boosting ecommerce capacity in the region. The company anticipates that applying the advantages of the AutoStore grid storage and retrieval density and goods-to-person productivity gains concurrently with Peapod Digital Labs’ picking system will lead to a flexible solution for streamlining grocery ecommerce order fulfilment.

Source: The GIANT Company

Improving the customer experience

As part of its omnichannel evolution, the retailer is also deploying geofencing technology to strengthen the functionality of its GIANT Direct app. Customers can enable location services or text functionality when one their way to one of more than 150 pickup locations. Store teams receive the early notification and can gather and prepare the customer’s order for their arrival, reducing customer wait times by nearly 50%. The retailer has also introduced grocery lockers to bring click and collect functionality to two of its Pennsylvania stores.

Automated micro-fulfillment on the rise

Although the partnership with Swisslog is for a centralised automated model, the retailer continues to test automated micro-fulfillment at store level through its partnership with Takeoff Technologies. Last year, HEB announced plans to deploy several automated micro fulfillment centres (MFC) to support its curbside pick-up and delivery business with Swisslog and AutoStore. Last month, Walmart announced plans to build on its existing automated micro-fulfillment partnership with Alert Innovation, by scaling up its programme through engaging with a broader range of partners including Dematic and Fabric. As more facilities are developed, this is an area which product suppliers are watching carefully, especially as deployments start to impact store layouts and category space.

Retail Analysis subscribers: outlined in our report, North America retail outlook 2021, we highlight five key trends set to shape the North American retail market this year, including improving ecommerce profitability.

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