Will a new AI lab make Kroger the freshest grocer of them all?
Kroger is looking to use artificial intelligence to optimize its supply chain and deliver the freshest food to its customers.
The supermarket giant earlier this week announced that it is engaging in a strategic collaboration with NVIDIA to build an AI-powered laboratory and demonstration center to achieve its “freshness” goals. The companies plan to use virtual models to accurately match store layouts and other operations to reach their objectives.
Wesley Rhodes, vice president of technology transformation & research and development at Kroger, said the collaboration will support his company’s “Fresh for Everyone commitment” and enable the grocer to use AI and data analytics to “provide our customers with anything, anytime, anywhere.”
The lab will be located within Kroger’s headquarters building in Cincinnati. It will use multiple technological solutions created by NVIDIA to help gain insights that can improve the performance of the nearly 2,800 stores in the company’s portfolio.
Azita Martin, vice president and general manager of retail at NVIDIA, said the use of AI will enable Kroger to deliver “more personalized experiences” for its customers, whether they are shopping in stores or online.
Kroger has identified three key performance areas in quality control, supply chain and operations to address.
The first is the use of computer vision and analytics to “identify early indicators of deteriorating freshness.”
The second makes use of dynamic routing in last-mile delivery to ensure the freshest products make their way to consumers’ plates.
The third seeks to optimize store efficiencies and processes with digital twin store simulations.
Kroger is the largest supermarket operator in the U.S. with stores operating under its namesake banner and many others.
The grocery giant has also begun entering markets where it doesn’t have a physical store presence as part of its distribution network that makes use of Ocado automated warehouses, spoke hubs and micro-fulfillment centers to speed online orders to customers.
Kroger Delivery first launched in central Florida and is currently looking to expand across that state. The company is also moving into parts of Oklahoma and Pennsylvania with deliveries, even though it doesn’t currently operate stores or automated warehouses in either state. Oklahoma is being served by Kroger from the Dallas area and western Pennsylvania is tied to a facility planned in the Cleveland area.
- Kroger and NVIDIA to Reinvent the Shopping Experience Through State-of-the-Art, AI-Enabled Applications and Services – Globe Newswire
- Stores? Kroger don’t need no stinking stores – RetailWire
- Kroger expanding into Oklahoma City as it builds national delivery network – The Oklahoman
- Kroger reaches into Pennsylvania with new Ocado e-commerce center – Supermarket News
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the use of artificial intelligence technology help Kroger achieve its freshness goals? Which aspect of the lab — using computer vision to track product deterioration, dynamic routing or digital twin store simulations — is likely to produce the biggest benefit?