Material handling automation company Swisslog is partnering with San Antonio, Texas-based supermarket chain H-E-B to deploy micro-fulfillment centers across the retailer’s network, the companies said today. The project addresses growing demand for online fulfillment, supporting the supermarket chain’s curbside pick-up and delivery business.
H-E-B’s micro-fulfillment centers will feature AutoStore, an automated storage and order processing system, powered by Swisslog’s SynQ software and pick stations. The goods-to-person solution is ideal for the e-grocery business, where storage density, operator productivity, and lead time are key factors, the companies said.
Privately held H-E-B has more than 400 stores throughout Texas and in Mexico, and also operates a large fresh food business called Central Market. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated an already growing trend toward online fulfillment, which is driving demand for automation projects like this one, the companies said.
“Swisslog is pleased H-E-B put their trust in us to automate and support their facilities with state-of-the-art automation and software,” Mitch Hayes, vice president of e-commerce and retail for Swisslog Logistics Automation, Americas, said in a statement announcing the partnership. “Covid-19 and anticipated behavioral changes have created increased urgency around the need for automation within many grocery operations. E-grocery automation is no longer an option—it’s a requirement for survival and continued growth.”
Swisslog is a strategic business partner of AutoStore and has completed more than 170 installations of the system worldwide, the company said.