Alibaba Group’s high-tech grocery company Freshippo said it cut the ribbon on its largest supply chain center to date on Monday.
Located in Shanghai, the nearly 1 million square foot center can sort over 2.8 million items per day – a mix of local and globally-sourced grocery goods curated to feed China’s growing appetite for quality foodstuffs.
The grocery store chain has formed sourcing partnerships with 33 retailers worldwide so far this year, and is setting up eight procurements centers outside of China as part of the company’s streamlined supply chain.
“The announcement of the center marks the upgrading of Freshippo’s new retail supply chain. It will be driven by data to promote the full automation of Freshippo’s warehouse operations and management,” said Hao Jingbin, director of Freshippo supply chain center, in a statement.
Alibaba said in May it had set Freshippo on the path to an initial public offering within six to 12 months.
Freshippo is working to keep its more than 300 stores across 27 Chinese cities well-supplied and has leveraged technology to make it happen.
The Shanghai center uses robotic arms, cross-belt sorters and automated guided vehicles (AGV) powered by algorithms to unpack goods efficiently.
“This is Freshippo’s first wholly automated park, which includes an automated cold chain fresh processing center and a series of logistics automation facilities systems,” said Hao.
The supply chain hub also features a centralized kitchen to prepare ready-to-eat dishes served at Freshippo stores.
“From raw materials to the production of fresh food, and transportation to stores, every step along the supply chain can be traced,” said Tang Lei, director of Freshippo Shanghai Centralized Kitchen, in the same statement.