With demand for shipped products soaring during the COVID-19 pandemic and foreseeable future, the transition to warehouse automation is already underway – likely to displace warehouse workers and result in rising technological unemployment.
Supermarket chain Kroger opened its first automated warehouse in Bulter County, Ohio, last week, reported Hamilton JournalNews. The massive 335,000-square-foot customer fulfillment center is entirely run by robots and artificial intelligence that can put together an order of about 50 items in six minutes compared with 30 to 45 minutes it takes a Kroger employee to pick items from shelves.
The new $55 million automated facility is known as the “shed” and is the first of 20 planned.
The Cincinnati-based grocer completed its first order at the facility last Wednesday. Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, told investors during Thursday’s call:
“This marks the soft opening of the facility, and we look forward to our grand opening in early April.
We continue to be excited about the elevated experience that this will bring to our customers in the tri-state area and across the country as we continue to open additional facilities,” McMullen said.
Kroger’s partnership with U.K.-based Ocado has been an essential part of leveraging advanced robotics technology to run the supermarket chain’s e-commerce segment. – READ MORE
Listen to the insightful Thomas Paine Podcast Below --