The Boston Globe has a profile of Rick Cohen, the executive chairman of C&S Wholesale Grocers, the nation's largest wholesale grocery company, that focuses largely on his role as CEO of warehouse robotics company Symbotic.
• “The vision for Symbotic is to be the best automation company in the world,” Cohen said at an investor event in May, where he spoke of moving every box in every warehouse. “I can’t think of any other vision that suits how big an opportunity this is.”
• "Symbotic’s technology goes far beyond rivals that try to integrate robots among human package handlers. Its robots-only system is built on a massive 30-foot-high steel frame, typically with 10 levels, for storing goods. Aisles crisscross each level where the flat-topped, round 'symbots' whiz goods around at 25 miles per hour. Built-in lifts move goods from level to level.
"An AI controller system gives the robots orders and determines where to store items. Similar items are not grouped together. Instead, Symbotic’s system works more like a computer hard drive, with similar items scattered all over so they can be retrieved quickly.
"A single installation can cost more than $50 million and be the size of a football field or larger. But big customers can save money on labor and warehouse space, while improving speed and efficiency."
Here's a YouTube video about Symbotic:
You can read the entire piece here.
- KC's View:
One of the thing I found myself thinking about while reading this story is how Symbotic's footprint - and value - could grow if the Kroger-Albertsons deal is concluded, and C&S becomes the new owner of hundreds of stores around the country, all of which could benefit from the robotic technology.