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Ocado extends Tharsus partnership to upgrade grocery market for a post-Covid world

Tharsus, one of the UK’s most advanced robotics companies, today announces that its partnership with Ocado Group, the world’s leading online grocery platform provider, has been extended. The new agreement builds on an existing seven-year relationship and lasts until September 2024, as Tharsus continues to support Ocado’s efforts to revolutionise the global grocery market through its unique and proprietary Ocado Smart Platform.

 As the grocery sector adapts to the disruption of the Covid-19 outbreak, supermarket companies around the world are increasingly understanding the importance of home delivery and seamless online capabilities. Ocado Group has already developed the technology-driven infrastructure required to enable the food retailing industry to deliver the best customer experience online with attractive and sustainable economics.  

Through the Tharsus factory based in Blyth, Northumberland, the partnership will also result in a multi-million-pound investment in Northumberland, and secure over 100 UK jobs. Founded in 1964, Tharsus has evolved into a leader in UK robotics, with a track record of delivering progressive, robust and innovative technology solutions to companies such as DHL, Automata and Small Robot Co.

The latest agreement will build on a long-standing partnership based around the manufacture, on behalf of Ocado Group, of progressive generations of sophisticated robotic technology which has revolutionised the process of fulfilling grocery orders made online. 

Tharsus will play an important role in helping Ocado Group respond to rapidly growing market demand for its automated, robotic fulfilment platform with Tharsus continuing to manufacture the crucial robots that make up the system, as well as providing aftermarket support and supply chain services and some development support to Ocado.  

Brian Palmer, CEO of Tharsus, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on how the public engages with the supermarket sector, forcing retailers to adapt quickly and develop online platforms to supplement bricks and mortar stores. The model pioneered by Ocado will increasingly define the grocery experience in the ‘next normal,’ as shoppers opt for home delivery services that limit health risks.

“Tharsus’ robotics has been central to keeping Ocado at the cutting edge of such trends, facilitating its disruption of the global grocery market and ascension to the pinnacle of the UK technology sector. We are excited to continue our long-standing relationship and push the boundaries of a rapidly evolving sector. Aside from the innovation gains to be made, the partnership will bring new investment and jobs to the local area. We were founded in the North East and are proud to be a focal point of the community here. 

Mark Fryer, engineering and supply chain director at Ocado Group, said: “Tharsus has been a strong and constant partner in our journey to become the world’s leading e-commerce platform for grocery. We are delighted that they will remain part of this journey in the future and we are glad that our work together will bring investment and jobs to the region as they share in the growth of Ocado Group’s business globally”.

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