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09/26/2022

UNFI and Symbotic Partner for AI-Aided Supply Chain Upgrades

Several of UNFI's distribution centers will soon have upgrades featuring AI-backed robotics from Wilmington, Mass.-based Symbotic.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Grocery wholesaler and distributor United Natural Foods, Inc., has partnered with Symbotic Inc. to implement new robotics that will aid the company’s private label product distribution.

UNFI will implement Symbotic’s A.I.-powered robotics and software automation in five of its distribution centers over the next four years. Under the agreement, UNFI also has an option to implement Symbotic’s warehouse automation systems in additional distribution centers.

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Symbotic, Inc.

“We’re pleased to introduce Symbotic systems into our distribution network, which we believe will benefit our customers, suppliers and associates,” said Mark Bushway, UNFI’s chief supply chain officer. “We currently have automation in a number of our distribution centers, but we believe the Symbotic System will improve the accuracy, efficiency, quality and speed of our supply chain and help take our operations to a new level.”

Symbotic’s end-to-end automation system, with robotic case pick capabilities, is designed to allow UNFI to enhance capabilities and efficiency at its distribution centers, improve order accuracy for its customers, increase storage capacity within its facilities and facilitate planned future growth. The Symbotic System will be able to fulfill customer-specific orders, which is expected to create operating efficiencies at the customer store level while creating a safer environment for associates.

“We are excited to welcome UNFI as a customer and look forward to working with them to transform their distribution centers,” said Michael J. Loparco, CEO of Symbotic. “Additionally, we believe this agreement further validates the broad applicability of the Symbotic A.I.-powered robotics and software platform.”

Based in Providence, R.I., UNFI delivers fresh, branded and private label products to more than 30,000 retail stores throughout North America.