Kroger has opened a new spoke facility in South Florida.
Joined by the local community, the retailer celebrated the expansion of the delivery service and welcomed 90 new associates. This facility opening means customers can access Kroger's selection of products that is important to their families – all delivered directly to their door, the company said.
"We are thrilled to connect more Floridians to the Kroger Delivery shopping experience, which brings thousands of digital coupons, valuable fuel points and the freshest products directly to customers' doors," said Bill Bennett, Kroger vice president, and head of e-commerce. "Whether they are using the Kroger app or browsing our weekly ad at Kroger.com, customers can enjoy fresh, high-quality, affordable groceries delivered by best-in-class uniformed drivers."
The 60,000-square-foot spoke facility will work in conjunction with the Groveland, Fla., fulfillment center. Associates assemble orders and place them in climate-controlled vehicles to travel to Miami, serving communities between Port St. Lucie in the north to Homestead in the South, on both the east and west sides of I-95. Once the orders arrive, they are checked and placed on refrigerated trucks that deliver directly to customers' doors.
"We've been working closely with the Kroger team since they started looking to expand to South Florida and knew this was a geography that would offer significant growth potential," said James Kohnstamm, executive vice president of Miami-Dade Beacon Council. "From a customer standpoint, we have over a million households and hundreds of new residents relocating to Miami each week. From a workforce standpoint, we have a deep bench of talent with expertise in cold chain and logistics management, as well as multiple startups dedicated to driving innovation in the trade and logistics space."
Local customers can get more value when purchasing their favorite items using Boost by Kroger Plus, the annual grocery delivery membership that can save customers up to $1,000 per year on fuel and grocery delivery. Eligible customers can try the Boost membership with a free 30-day trial and subscribe for as little as $7.99 a month. Additionally, new customers can enjoy $15 off their first three orders.
The expansion to South Florida, including Miami, represents an extension of a collaboration between Kroger and Ocado Group, which offers technology for grocery e-commerce. In 2018, the companies announced a collaboration to establish a delivery network that combines artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and automation in a bold new way, bringing first-of-its-kind technology to America.
The delivery network relies on highly automated fulfillment centers. At the hub sites, more than 1,000 bots move around giant 3D grids, orchestrated by proprietary control systems. The grid, known as The Hive, contains totes filled with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders. As customers' orders near delivery times, bots retrieve products from The Hive and present them at pick stations for items to be sorted for delivery, a process governed by algorithms that ensure items are intelligently packed. For example, fragile items are placed on top, bags are evenly weighted, and each order is optimized to fit into the lowest number of bags, reducing plastic use. Bags are also recyclable, reflecting Kroger's commitment to its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste.
Kroger's end-to-end cold solutions keep groceries fresh once loaded into a customized refrigerated delivery van, which can store up to 20 orders. Powerful machine learning algorithms optimize delivery routes, considering factors such as road conditions and optimal fuel efficiency. Vans may travel up to 90 minutes with orders from the hub and spoke facilities to make deliveries. Associates at the spoke facility will deliver orders within their service area, adding ZIP codes as demand grows.
Kroger currently operates customer fulfillment centers in Monroe, Ohio, Groveland, Fla., Forest Park, Ga. (Atlanta), Pleasant Prairie, Wis., Dallas, Texas, Romulus, Mich. (Detroit) and Aurora, Colo. with additional customer fulfillment centers slated for California, Frederick, Md., Phoenix, Ariz., Cleveland, Ohio, Charlotte, N.C., as well as South Florida and the Northeast.