Kroger collaborates with KNAPP to modernize and expand its Great Lakes Distribution Centre
The Kroger Co., America’s largest grocery retailer, is working with KNAPP to expand the capacity and enhance the capabilities of its Great Lakes Distribution Centre in Delaware, Ohio.
In order to supply stores in the region efficiently and quickly with fresh food, the Great Lakes DC is currently being renovated to add state-of-the-art technology – including KNAPP’s OSR Shuttle™ Evo and RUNPICK systems – and is expected to be complete this summer.
KNAPP’s RUNPICK robot picks and palletizes grocery cases and trays fully automatically (©KNAPP/Niederwieser)
Improved efficiency for store replenishment
The Great Lakes facility – which opened in 2003 and currently services 115 stores in central and northwest Ohio, southeast Michigan and the Ohio River Valley region – will be expanded by 130,000 square feet during the renovation.
Tony Lucchino, Kroger’s Vice President of Supply Chain and Network Strategy, said of the agreement, “Kroger’s investment in KNAPP’s latest technology allows the Great Lakes Distribution Centre to improve efficiency in replenishing our stores, enabling us to quickly deliver fresh food to our customers. 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. This collaborative project will allow us to better serve customers in the region.”
Innovative combination of technologies
The site will feature a unique combination of two KNAPP technologies: the OSR Shuttle™ Evo storage and picking system and the Robotic Universal Picker (known as RUNPICK). The OSR Shuttle™ Evo store delivers groceries in an exact sequence to the RUNPICK picking and palletizing robot, which uses an intelligent algorithm to build mixed loads of full cases, packs and trays fully automatically. Specially designed for the food retail sector, the RUNPICK system relies on KNAPP’s KiSoft Pack Master software to ensure load stability, shop-friendly delivery sequencing and optimum packing density on the load carrier. Within a single cycle of movement, the robot moves and deposits several items at the same time, thereby increasing performance. Together, the OSR Shuttle™ Evo and RUNPICK technologies will deliver next-generation efficiency and performance increases for Kroger’s supply chain network.
The KNAPP OSR Shuttle™ Evo system delivers grocery cases in an exact sequence for picking (©KNAPP/Niederwieser)
The installation According to the CEO of KNAPP Inc., Josef Mentzer, “The technology investment in the Great Lakes Distribution Centre 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.
The RUNPICK solution can be seen in action here.