Symbotic Cuts Deal With Associated Food Stores to Install Its Robotic System at Utah Distribution Center

Symbotic also recently announced that it had laid of 200 people.


A Symbotic robotic system at a warehouse.
Symboti said its robots provide pick capabilities that will allow AFS’ distribution center to improve a variety of retail-facing experiences, including overall supply, expanded selection and delivery of products to stores.

Associated Food Stores, or AFS, a provider of groceries and other goods and services to independent retailers in nine Intermountain states, and Symbotic Inc., a provider of A.I.-enabled robotics technology for the supply chain, this month announced they have entered into a commercial agreement to implement Symbotic’s A.I.-powered robotic warehouse automation technology in AFS’ Utah distribution center.

Symbotic’s end-to-end automation system, with robotic case pick capabilities, will allow AFS’ distribution center to improve a variety of retail-facing experiences, including overall supply, expanded selection and delivery of products to stores.

Willmington, Mass.-based Symbotic is an automation technology leader reimagining the supply chain with its end-to-end, A.I.-powered robotic and software platform. Symbotic reinvents the warehouse as a strategic asset for the world’s largest retail, wholesale, and food & beverage companies.

Applying next-generation technology, high-density storage and machine learning to solve today's complex distribution challenges, Symbotic said it enables companies to move goods with unmatched speed, agility, accuracy and efficiency. As the backbone of commerce, Symbotic transforms the flow of goods and the

ASF turns to Symbotic

Associated Food Stores was established in 1940 when 34 independent retailers joined together to battle high supplier costs and competition from large chain stores. That fighting spirit has continued to help the grocery wholesaler grow over the last 75 years.

With a focus on independent retailers, AFS said it has changed the way these retailers operate and allowed them to prosper. AFS currently serves nearly 450 retailers across the Intermountain West.

“We appreciate the partnership with Symbotic which enables us to cast an exciting vision for future growth and long-term relevance with the shoppers and retailers we serve,” said David Rice, AFS’ president and CEO. “Their expertise and professionalism allowed us to make what could have been a difficult decision, incredibly straightforward.”

“While very important, a modernized distribution system is not just about automation and technology, but also about optimizing processes and empowering people. It’s a strategic investment that can increase efficiency and enhance our ability to service our member retailers,” said Roger White, AFS’ executive vice president and COO.

“We are pleased to welcome AFS as a customer and look forward to working with them to transform their distribution center,” said Rick Cohen, Symbotic’s chairman and CEO. “We are dedicated to ensuring our A.I.-powered robotics platform helps customers increase efficiency, reduce costs, enable new capabilities and improve worker satisfaction.”

“We believe implementing the Symbotic system creates great opportunities for our distribution center team members to grow their skill sets and expand their future opportunities with the company,” said Glen Keysaw, AFS’ vice president of distribution. “Due to the proactive efforts of our management team, all current team members at the distribution center will have jobs going forward and the distribution center will continue supporting current and future independent grocers throughout the Intermountain West.”

Symbotic cuts 200 jobs

In related news, the Boston Globe reported this week that Symbotic has cut 200 jobs “as part of a move to outsource manufacturing of its machines that move goods around large warehouses for Walmart and other retailers.”

Case Storage & Retrieval: Building a Store-Ready Pallet

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A Symbotic robotic system at a warehouse.

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