FreshDirect partners with Fabric for automated micro-fulfillment
Date: 04 August 2020
Servicing 500 to 1,000 orders per day
Fabric, formerly Common Sense Robotics, will work with FreshDirect to develop an automated fulfillment centre to serve the Washington D.C. area. The company operates in the micro-fulfillment space, with the new facility expected to be around 10,000 sq ft and able to service 500 to 1,000 customer orders per day. The company’s solution can be fitted into existing facilities, including store backrooms.
Growing list of micro-fulfillment providers
Fabric joins a growing number of operators in the automated micro-fulfillment space in the US. This includes Takeoff Technologies, Alert Innovation and Dematic. Although this is Fabric’s first grocery partnership in the US, it launched a pilot site in Israel last year, it’s home market. Micro-fulfillment is considered a more profitable solution than store-based, manual picking. Several retailers in the US are currently operating or piloting solutions, including, Walmart, Albertsons, Ahold Delhaize and Meijer.
Push towards shorter lead-times
The speed of fulfillment will enable FreshDirect to offer two-hour delivery windows. Recently, the retailer consolidated its FoodKick on-demand operation into the core FreshDirect proposition, launching it as FreshDirect Express. Several grocers have introduced express deliveries recently, including Walmart and HEB, enabling them to compete with on-demand delivery services such as Instacart which have been growing at pace through the COVID-19 pandemic.