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Fabric Aids Retailers’ Local Fulfillment Through Robotics

Avi “Jack” Jacoby

Retired brigadier general, CEO and robotics technology specialist are not words that often describe the same person. However, they do apply to New York-based Fabric’s CEO, Avi “Jack” Jacoby. 

Jacoby joined Fabric in 2018 as chief of staff before being named COO and then CEO of the Israel market, his and the company’s country of origin. Prior to Fabric, Jacoby held leadership roles at Stratasys, an international 3D printing company, and Better Place, a motor vehicle manufacturer. He retired after 34 years of service in the Israeli Air Force. 

Fabric is a retail technology company that enables retailers’ local fulfillment with a proprietary mesh robotics network. Shelby Publishing’s Bob Reeves recently spoke with Jacoby, as well as Shirley Bachar, Fabric’s head of marketing and business development, and Jonathan Morav, VP sales, strategy and operations, e-commerce grocery.

Jacoby led Fabric’s transition from services to selling its technology. He explained that he saw Fabric’s value in manufacturing and selling robotic hardware/software that supports online fulfillment. 

“And we are doing that by enabling deployment of our technology within any given space or as a standalone, what we call MFC or micro-fulfillment centers,” Jacoby said. 

The technology enables retailers to locate online fulfillment within a very dense area “in any given space.” 

“Being able to be close to the customers, does a few things,” Jacoby explained. “One, it shortens the time for fulfillment – single hours from order to fulfillment. Second [is] order quality. Because everything is automated, the software monitors the inventory and there are zero mistakes on your order.

“On top of that, it enables the retailers to have positive unit economics on a supply chain.” 

Morav said the company has partnered with the second-largest grocery chain in Israel, adding “and they’re operating a number of sites using the Fabric technology.”

Likewise, Fabric also is partnered with Super-Pharm, the largest health and beauty retailer in Israel, according to Morav. In the United States, Fabric has partnered with logistics giant and Norfolk, Virginia-based Maersk to provide the fulfillment of health and beauty company at one of its fulfillment sites, Morav said. 

Over the last five years, Bachar said Fabric has been operating its own grocery sites in Israel. 

“And we build our products from the ground up to develop specific features that are relevant for the grocery industry,” she said. “For example, we’re picking inside automation loose items. We’re able to pick them up in our automation, which no one offers today.”

Jacoby said Fabric is something needed in the U.S., particularly for grocers.

“This is something that we do not see any solution which is profitable or unit economically on an MFC model. And we do have such a solution. That is the differentiator,” he said. 

Morav said American grocery retailers are “literally losing money on every online grocery order.” Deploying store pickers to walk stores and select items off shelves is not “efficient e-commerce fulfillment.”

“What we’ve done is developed a solution that allows them to remove the online operation from the shop floor and move it – either to a dedicated standalone facility or, better yet, use underutilized space in the back room to deploy automation that will allow them to move that fulfillment off to a more efficient operating space.”

Read more technology news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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