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01/28/2021

The Micro-Fulfillment Grocery Space Gets More Crowded

Thad Rueter
Senior Editor
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The Micro-Fulfillment Grocery Space Gets More Crowded
As food retail e-commerce gains ground and consumer habits evolve, new fulfillment efforts are popping up rapidly.

As Walmart sets a new pace for smaller and more automated fulfillment operations, two companies with a technology focus — Attabotics, a 3D robotics supply chain company, and FoodX Technologies, which sells end-to-end e-grocery Management Solutions (eGMS) — are teaming up to grab a bigger piece of that space.

The two firms have announced a North American joint market offering. The scalable offering will provide retailers of all sizes with a turn-key, highly flexible solution for automated micro-fulfillment of fresh food, both firms said.

By combining Attabotics’ robotics fulfillment system with the FoodX eGrocery software platform for front-end e-commerce, delivery routing, inventory management, fulfillment and reverse logistics, retailers can improve unit economics, increase speed to market and reduce capital expenditure when compared to other end-to-end solutions currently on the market. 

Requiring upwards of 85% less space than typical fulfillment warehouses, the Attabotics technology offers a way to store and pick goods in warehouses that is tailor-made to help retailers to respond to changing e-commerce demands and empower brands, the company said. The technology is designed to transform the rows and aisles of a typical warehouse into a single, vertical storage structure that’s modular and scalable, and uses “3D” robots internally to store and retrieve items for box packers on the outside perimeter.

FoodX Technologies, which has partnered with France-based Carrefour Group and recently announced its entry into the U.S. market, provides a tailored, end-to-end solution for fresh food that vastly improves online grocery margins and increases the productivity of retailers’ e-commerce operations. The software based eGMS platform can be scaled to work for any size retailer and can deploy in the back of a store, within a dark-store and now in a micro-fulfillment center with Attabotics.

The joint Attabotics and FoodX offering and the deployment of micro-fulfillment solutions for eGrocery will use Microsoft Azure Private Edge Zones, Azure Stack Edge and Azure Sphere. They will also use Azure Data and artificial intelligence to unlock insights across the digital supply chain. 

“The FoodX software platform is the ideal partner for Attabotics and its hardware,” said Scott Gravelle, Attabotics founder, CEO and CTO. “The ability to save retailers time and money is more important than ever, and that’s why we’ve centered this partnership on the ability to offer the best-in-class unit economics for grocery e-commerce.”

“There is immense opportunity to bolster efficiencies and profitability in the grocery sector, and we are always testing new technologies to benefit retailers,” said FoodX Technologies CEO Peter van Stolk. “In pairing our end-to-end software with Attabotics’ revolutionary technology, we alleviate age-old logistical challenges faced by retailers with 21st century solutions, while also adapting to today’s shifting consumer behavior that demands speed and absolute convenience.”