The $1.04 trillion-plus grocery industry is projected to continue growing, and investments from venture capital firms, Wall Street banks and private investors are supercharging innovation. In particular, micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs) that grocery retailers and third-party delivery companies use are undergoing transformation.
As the chief supply chain and marketing officer of a system integration company that offers warehouse management and micro-fulfillment solutions, I have written extensively on the topic of micro-fulfillment. You can read more about the topic here, here and here.
For example, Instacart recently partnered with Fabric to offer retailers micro-fulfillment solutions. GoPuff raised an additional $1 billion to expand its operations, which include over 285 micro-fulfillment centers.
Gorillas, JOKR, Dija, Getir, Weezy and other delivery companies already leverage micro-fulfillment centers for their needs. Grocery retailers are also investing in micro-fulfillment centers: Kroger, Albertsons, H-E-B and other grocery retailers are already using micro-fulfillment center technology or are exploring the technology.
The grocery industry seems to be becoming more interested in technology. In addition, large investment companies like Softbank are also growing interested in the grocery industry and other industries that are reliant upon technology to fulfill their products. Softbank recently invested $2.8 billion in robotics and micro-fulfillment company AutoStore.
AutoStore and SoftBank understand the value of technology for helping industries grow and innovate. However, I am not convinced that grocery retailers fully realize that instead of just making their companies’ fulfillment processes more efficient, they can utilize micro-fulfillment technology to revolutionize their stores.