UNFI’s announcement of expansion of transformation program suggests the wholesaler and distributor is looking to change course after the company’s CEO told investors it was not facing such disruption to the expected profitability in the second quarter. The food retailer said net income and diluted earnings per share fell more than 70%.
UNFI announced Wednesday that it has used Symbotic for its artificial intelligence technology to be installed at the Centralia site and has expanded the use of Systems Application Enterprises (SAE) scanning systems at the site. According to the announcement, these new capabilities will be applied to the 1.15 million square foot distribution center to improve supply chain capabilities, customer service and overall operational efficiencies.
UNFI has activated SAE technology solutions in a total of 18 fulfillment centers and expects to install systems in more centers in 2023 and 2024, according to the press release. The centers’ SAE capabilities include Selector Pro, Loader Pro and Driver Pro, which each use scan-based technology to improve order accuracy, increase delivery efficiency and ensure improved order delivery accuracy. Announced in September,
Symbotic’s partnership with UNFI will see the company’s AI-powered robotic automation system installed in five UNFI fulfillment centers over a four-year period. According to the press release, the Symbotic system is to be used in the dry feed area of the facility.
UNFI saw significant gains from the stock purchase ahead of last year’s supplier increases as the company says it is “unique in the current environment,” CEO Sandy Douglas said at a briefing.
In light of recent gains, UNFI has embarked on plans to improve its performance going forward, beginning with reducing its profitability outlook, Douglas said. The company has developed a multi-pronged transformation plan to seek “more scalable and efficient capabilities” to improve its cost structures, Douglas told investors last week, noting that the company’s board will review the plan this quarter.