In the fast-paced world of retail, efficiency is paramount. From inventory management to customer service, every aspect of operations plays a crucial role in delivering a seamless shopping experience. This is where warehouse modernization steps in, or what Associated Food Stores calls Project ROAR, revolutionizing the way goods are stored, selected, and delivered, and ultimately benefiting not only distribution center but also store teams.

Here are some of the key benefits to the project:

Optimized Pallet Delivery:

One of the main ways Project ROAR benefits store teams is through optimized pallet delivery based on store schematics. Traditionally, receiving goods at retail locations involves sorting through mixed pallets, deciphering labels, and organizing items according to store layout—a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. However, with modernized warehouse systems, pallets are strategically packed and delivered based on store floor plans, streamlining the stocking process for store teams. This allows store team members to focus on serving customers rather than sorting through deliveries.

“The ability to unload pallets based on store schematics will make stocking shelves easier and more efficient,” said Justin Johnson, director of logistics for AFS. “As we’ve spoken with retailers, and had them visit the distribution center, this is one of the benefits they are most excited about.”

Time and Labor Savings:

Perhaps the most significant benefit of Project ROAR for store teams is the time and labor savings it provides. By automating repetitive tasks such as picking, packing, and sorting, Project ROAR will reduce the manual workload on both distribution center and store team members. This not only increases productivity but also alleviates physical strain and fatigue, contributing to a safer and more enjoyable work environment. With fewer manual tasks to manage, store teams can allocate their time and energy to higher-value activities, such as customer engagement, product merchandising and store maintenance, ultimately enhancing the overall shopping experience for customers.

“Finding efficiencies in time and labor is one of the shared goals of both the distribution center and retail,” said Justin. “The investment in Project ROAR will pay substantial dividends as we are able to reinvest the time into activities that have greater returns throughout the ‘One AFS’ system.”

Efficiency and Organization:

By leveraging advanced technologies such as automation, robotics, and AI-driven inventory management systems, Project ROAR will enhance overall efficiency and organization within the distribution process. Symbotic’s artificial-intelligence-powered software (which is the system being installed at the Farr West Distribution Center) 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. Real-time tracking of inventory levels and automated replenishment systems ensure that stores receive the right products at the right time, minimizing stockouts and overstock situations. With improved visibility into inventory levels and streamlined processes, store teams can better plan and allocate resources, leading to smoother operations and optimized shelf availability. 

Learn More:

To get additional details, watch videos and review answers to frequently asked questions about Project ROAR, visit the Project ROAR section on StoreLink by clicking on the banner on the top of the StoreLink front page.