Grocery retailer The Kroger Co. will expand the capacity of its existing Great Lakes Distribution Center in Delaware, Ohio, by working with logistics solutions provider Knapp to add intelligent automation and specialized software solutions, the companies said today.
The distribution center opened in 2003 and currently services 115 stores in central and northwest Ohio, as well as southeast Michigan and the Ohio River Valley region. The renovation will expand the facility by 130,000 square feet with work expected to be complete this summer.
According to Knapp CEO Josef Mentzer, the work will add a new level of flexibility to the Kroger supply chain network by providing a combination of Knapp OSR (order, storage, and retrieval) shuttles that deliver grocery cases in an exact sequence to the RUNPICK robotic palletizers.
"Kroger's investment in Knapp's latest technology allows the Great Lakes Distribution Center to improve efficiency in replenishing our stores, enabling us to quickly deliver fresh food to our customers,” Tony Lucchino, Kroger's vice president of supply chain and network strategy, said of the agreement. “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."
The investment comes as soaring volumes of e-grocery and pharmaceutical shopping during the pandemic have driven demand for cold storage warehouse space, automated fulfillment technologies, and truck delivery capacity.