Work underway to automate Helsinki grocery retailer

Intelligent automation specialist Dematic has started its pilot installation for Kesko, the second-largest grocery retailer in Finland. Dematic has begun work at the K-Citymarket Ruoholahti hypermarket site to install and implement an automated order fulfilment system.

Dematic’s solution will be the first automation-assisted order fulfilment solution in Finland to be built onsite at a grocery store. It is based on a micro-fulfilment concept and will be implemented right next to the store premises. The system consists of store picking zone, two picking zones with pallets and shelves for fast moving goods, two AutoStore subsystems (one for ambient products and another for chilled), and comprehensive warehouse management software.

The installation will meet growing demand with a four-fold improvement in efficiency and provide Kesko with greater flexibility in fulfilling orders. During the pandemic, Kesko has seen demand for online grocery shopping grow exponentially. The K-Citymarket Ruoholahti location was chosen for the pilot installation because it is among the busiest K Group stores for online grocery orders with its urban location in Helsinki.

Steffen Thierfelder, VP & Market Leader – UK/Ireland at Dematic, says: “We are pleased that this project is now underway and will soon be helping Kesko grow their market share. As a strategic partner, our mission is to support and guide Kesko as they navigate their automation roadmap.”

Pekka Tala, Development Director at Kesko, adds: “This project is a pioneering one for Finnish online grocery fulfilment. The Dematic solution will allow us to scale as we grow, providing us greater flexibility for fulfilling online orders. It will also enhance the shopping experience for our instore customers by removing the majority of online order picking from customer areas.”

The pilot installation is part of a multimillion-euro investment in automation technology by Kesko, which anticipates deploying additional automation-assisted order fulfilment solutions across its operations in the coming years.


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