Construction has begun on the new online grocery order fulfilment system with 45 robots at K-Citymarket Ruoholahti in Helsinki

The new system will be the first automation-assisted order fulfilment system in Finland to be built on-site at a grocery store, enabling efficient deliveries to online customers while still giving them access to a wide range of speciality and service counter items. The system is expected to be ready in H1/2022.

The K-Citymarket Ruoholahti hypermarket was chosen to house the first automation-assisted collection system thanks to the store’s central location.

”We wanted to introduce automation first at K-Citymarket Ruoholahti, as the store’s central location in Helsinki translates into large customer volumes for online grocery that make utilising automation sensible”, says Antti Rajala,  Director of eCom & Digital Services at Kesko.

K-Citymarket Ruoholahti is among the busiest K Group stores in terms of online grocery orders, thanks to long-term efforts by the store to develop the operations.

“We are thrilled to be involved in this project which is a pioneering one for Finnish online grocery. Online sales are an essential part of our store’s business, and more and more customers are making their everyday lives easier by shopping online. Once completed, the new system will also benefit customers at the store, as moving the collection of products back of the house means less congestion on the aisles,” says Tero Huhtala, the retailer of K-Citymarket Ruoholahti.

Construction at Ruoholahti has begun and will proceed in stages. The first construction stage will set up the facilities and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The second stage will cover the installation of the actual automation solutions. This stage is projected to be completed during H1/2022. 

“As our partner in this project, we chose Dematic, as they have extensive experience of the Micro- Fulfilment Centre (MFC) concept that our future system will be based on. Dematic’s solution combines all the functionalities we seek, including the Warehouse Management System, the automation system proper, as well as 45 robots,” says Rajala.

What is MFC?

  • In a system that is based on a MFC concept, groceries are collected from three areas
    • Most products are collected at the back of the store, either utilising robots or as manual mass collection.
    • Specialty and low volume products are collected at the front of the store.
  • The system will make collection approximately four times more efficient compared to manual in-store collection, yet the store will still be able to offer its online customers a wide range of products, including ready restaurant-quality meals, local products and service counter items.
  • The system is built on store premises, meaning the collection will continue to take place close to customers – thus enabling fast deliveries with a lower environmental load.
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