H-E-B will use robots to fulfill online orders for pick-up, delivery

The Texas grocery chain will use automated micro-fulfillment centers to meet demand of online orders

Texas grocery chain H-E-B will be using robots to support its curbside pick-up and delivery services.

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H-E-B will be partnering with Swisslog, a logistics and robotics company based in Switzerland, the companies announced this week.

Swisslog will provide H-E-B with several automated micro-fulfillment centers -- small-scale warehouses that use robots to fulfill online orders -- that will “efficiently meet the growing demand for curbside pick-up without negatively impacting customer experience in the store,” the announcement said.

It was unclear how many centers H-E-B will have installed. Currently, the retail chain has more than 400 locations in Texas and northeast Mexico.

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According to the announcement, H-E-B will use AutoStore for its micro-fulfillment centers, which is one of the “most flexible automation solutions available,” according to the release.

An AutoStore robot, empowered by Swisslog's SynQ software, is pictured. These are the kinds of robots H-E-B will use in its micro-fulfillment centers. (Swisslog)

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The AutoStore system will use Swisslog’s SynQ software to manage the center’s logistics.

Swisslog has more than 170 AutoStore centers installed around the world, according to the announcement.

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"Swisslog is pleased H-E-B put their trust in us to automate and support their facilities with state-of-the-art automation and software," Mitch Hayes, Swisslog Logistics Automation’s vice president of e-commerce and retail in the Americas, said in a statement.

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"COVID-19 and anticipated behavioral changes have created increased urgency around the need for automation within many grocery operations,” Hayes added. “E-grocery automation is no longer an option … it's a requirement for survival and continued growth."

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