Albertsons has formed a strategic partnership with micro-fulfilment firm Takeoff Technologies, whereby the grocer is due to invest in additional micro-fulfilment centres (MFCs).
Dedicated teams to enhance collaboration
The partnership involves the creation of dedicated teams to collaborate on micro-fulfilment and “drive the future of e-commerce order fulfilment.”
Takeoff’s automated and AI-enabled robotics assemble full grocery orders in a fraction of the time taken by manual picking. By using robotics and compact vertical spaces, Takeoff’s MFCs can occupy only one-eighth the footprint of a typical supermarket.
Albertsons president and CEO Vivek Sankaran said in a news release: “The micro-fulfillment center model is a key element in the store of the future. It combines the efficiency of automation with the ease of meeting customers when and how they want to shop. In working with Takeoff, we can evolve how the (micro-fulfillment center) ties into our store and e-commerce ecosystems and accelerate our path to best serve our customers.”
The announcement expands on a pilot program Albertsons and Takeoff announced a little more than a year ago. The first MFC to result from the partnership has been inaugurated in October in South San Francisco, while the next one is set to open in San Jose before the end of 2019.
Chris Rupp, EVP and chief customer and digital officer at Albertsons, commented: “In collaborating with Takeoff, we’re able to leverage their thought leadership in ecommerce fulfillment with our expertise in running great grocery stores that meet customers’ everyday needs, and that’s exciting turf for us. By placing an MFC in an existing store close to customers, we can carry a diverse and locally relevant selection of products, with the friendly touch of our local team to service the customer.”
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