Finland's K Group has commenced the construction of an automation-assisted order fulfilment system, which the retailer claims is a first of its kind to be built on-site at a grocery store in the country.
It will enable efficient deliveries to online customers while giving them access to a wide range of speciality and service counter items. The system is expected to be ready in the first half of 2022.
K-Citymarket Ruoholahti Hypermarket
The K-Citymarket Ruoholahti hypermarket was chosen to house the first automation-assisted collection system.
”We wanted to introduce automation first at K-Citymarket Ruoholahti, as the store’s central location in Helsinki translates into large customer volumes for online grocery that make utilising automation sensible”, explained Antti Rajala, director of eCom and Digital Services at Kesko.
The store is among one of the busiest K Group stores in terms of online grocery orders, thanks to long-term efforts by the company to develop the operations.
Tero Huhtala, retailer at K-Citymarket Ruoholahti, said, "We are thrilled to be involved in this project which is a pioneering one for Finnish online grocery. Online sales are an essential part of our store’s business, and more and more customers are making their everyday lives easier by shopping online.
"Once completed, the new system will also benefit customers at the store, as moving the collection of products back of the house means less congestion on the aisles."
Construction of the collection system will proceed in stages, with the first stage seeing setting up the facilities. It is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The second stage will cover the installation of the actual automation solutions, and should be finished by the first half of 2022, the retailer added.
"As our partner in this project, we chose Dematic, as they have extensive experience of the Micro- Fulfilment Centre (MFC) concept that our future system will be based on. Dematic’s solution combines all the functionalities we seek, including the Warehouse Management System, the automation system proper, as well as 45 robots," Rajala added.