H-E-B rolls out automated micro-fulfillment centers

A Texas-based regional grocer is joining the burgeoning trend of supporting omnichannel services with automated micro-fulfillment technology.

H-E-B is rolling out a number of automated micro-fulfillment centers to support the chain’s curbside pickup and delivery business. The retailer’s new micro-fulfillment centers feature the Swisslog AutoStore micro-fulfillment platform, SynQ software and pick stations.

Micro-fulfillment technology automates picking and packing, using robotic systems to efficiently locate and retrieve products stored in a space too compact for human workers. Grocers including Fresh Direct, Walmart, Albertsons, and Loblaw are all using micro-fulfillment at some locations.

H-E-B intends to leverage the automated micro-fulfillment centers to streamline online fulfillment and move it closer to the customer, efficiently meeting the growing demand for curbside pickup without negatively impacting customer experience in-store. 

“COVID-19 and anticipated behavioral changes have created increased urgency around the need for automation within many grocery operations,” said Mitch Hayes, VP of e-commerce and retail, Swisslog Logistics Automation, Americas. “E-grocery automation is no longer an option…it’s a requirement for survival and continued growth.” 

H-E-B is a privately-held retail chain based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 400 stores throughout the state of Texas, as well as in northeast Mexico.

This story originally appeared on Chain Store Age