The pandemic has brought a major shift in grocery shopping patterns, with research suggesting that up to two-thirds of consumers changed their grocery shopping behavior. Now, industry analysts and grocers are projecting that for a significant percentage of the market these initially short-term adaptations will translate into long-term behavior changes.
“Automating e-grocery fulfillment enables significant productivity improvements compared to picking products from store shelves and eliminates in-store picker congestion. Automated micro-fulfillment centers help to reduce delivery costs and shorten the last mile and the time to consumer. They are also an ideal solution for fulfilling online orders for curbside pickup”, explains Jens Schmale, Head of Swisslog Region EMEA.
The right automation solutions are enabling e-grocery providers to operate with the sustained throughput they need, while also providing operational flexibility to accommodate demand peaks.
Rohlik is the European leader in e-grocery in Central Europe with over 850,000 customers across the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria and Germany. It achieved 101% year-on-year revenue growth in 2020. The company’s latest investment will deliver a threefold increase in picking productivity, over 60% more storage space in its fulfillment centers and a streamlined replenishment and inventory process. “Having sold or implemented several e-grocery projects in recent years, we are ideally placed to now support Rohlik on their growth journey with flexible and temperature controlled automation,” says Schmale.
Major projects in Prague and Vienna
One project for www.rohlik.cz in the Czech Republic is for its fulfillment center in Prague, due to be completed by the end of 2023. The e-grocery operations with the AutoStore technology, the Swisslog CycloneCarrier Shuttle solution and Swisslog QuickMove conveyor system will be supported by the Swisslog SynQ Software.
“We are proud to be a main partner from Rohlik with our large and committed team with our expertise in software, AutoStore and integrated logistics solutions”, says Schmale.
The other project for www.gurkerl.at in Austria is for its e-grocery fulfillment center in Vienna. This facility will also use Swisslog SynQ Software and AutoStore technology combined with Swisslog’s QuickMove modular conveyor system.
Worldwide e-grocery fulfillment automation demand
Swisslog has a well-established and growing reputation for successfully implementing automation projects across the burgeoning e-grocery sector. In the US, The GIANT Company recently opened its new, state-of-the-art GIANT Direct E-commerce Fulfillment Center (EFC) in Philadelphia, US. This new, 124,000 square foot facility is powered by AutoStore and optimized by Swisslog’s SynQ software. “Swisslog has also partnered with H-E-B in San Antonio, Texas to deploy a number of automated micro-fulfillment centers to support the chain’s curbside pick-up and delivery business. In the recent months, we have also received orders and implemented new e-grocery projects for customers in Italy and the Middle East,” explains Schmale in highlighting the growing e-grocery automation business.