Board Of Directors Visits Distribution Center For ROAR Tour

Following two days of meetings, the board of directors toured the Farr West Distribution Center to see the progress thus far and receive updates on next steps.

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What is Project ROAR?


Project ROAR is Associated Food Stores’ initiative to ensure the Farr West Distribution Center remains a full-service, state-of-the-art facility both now and in the future. Automation will play an integral role in the revolutionary project.

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What you need to know


Why is Project ROAR important?

Project ROAR through automation and other efforts will improve quality of life for team members throughout “One Associated.” It also positions Associated Food Stores to remain one of the premier grocery wholesalers in the nation as the company services more than 400 independent retailers across the Mountain West.

What are the benefits of Project ROAR?

Project ROAR leads to important benefits throughout the company including:

  • Increased speed, accuracy, and efficiency throughout the organization.
  • Reduced workload and stress on the distribution team.
  • Enhanced ability to meet the increasing demands of retailers and their customers.
  • Improved efficiency for retail team members. As an example, pallets will arrive based on store schematic to save both time and labor expenses.
  • In short, Project ROAR helps the entire company succeed.

Will there be any job loss because of Project ROAR?

There will be no layoffs because of Project ROAR. Instead, AFS will focus on growing skill sets of team members to fulfill numerous needs as forklift operators, loaders, drivers, and various support staff.

What is the timeline for Project ROAR?

Progress will occur in phases, beginning with a three-month engineering process, over the next several years.

What automation system is being implemented?

AFS has entered into an agreement with Symbotic, a revolutionary A.I.-enabled technology platform for the supply chain used by some of the world’s top retailers. 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.

How does the system work?

Symbotic’s artificial-intelligence-powered software acts as the conductor of a team of robots that receive, store, and retrieve a virtually unlimited number of products. At the core of the system is a fleet of several hundred autonomous, intelligent, mobile robots called “Symbots.” These fully autonomous fleets of Symbots move products at speeds up to 25 mph with 99.9999% accuracy to and from random access storage structures. The system enhances storage density, increases available SKUs, reduces product damage, and improves throughput and speed to customers.

Where in the distribution center will the automation exist?

The 127,000-square-foot automation system will be in the dry grocery area of the distribution center, replacing the existing racking in aisles 70 – 85. The system will be 11 levels high and have two inbound depalletizing cranes and three outbound cranes that palletize orders.

How can I stay up to date on the progress of Project ROAR?

Associated Food Stores is committed to keeping retailers and team members updated on the exciting progress through its enhanced communications platforms.

Member owners and MRO retail team members will receive information from company leaders and retail account managers. Additionally, frequent updates will be provided on the “Project ROAR” page of StoreLink and team communications.

AFS and ARO team members will receive frequent updates from company and team leaders. Information will also be distributed through Team News email and AFS social media. Articles, interviews, photos, and videos will all be available throughout Project ROAR to keep team members apprised and current.

If questions not answered through company communication arise, who can help?

For member owners and MRO retail team members, questions may be directed to their retail account manager. AFS and ARO team members may ask their direct supervisor.