Online grocer Ocado is using video-game software to make its Hatfield distribution centre more efficient as it aims to become profitable for the first time.

According to newswire Bloomberg, a software package called Ogre enables Ocado to monitor the automated process in the centre on ipads, detecting any problems quickly across the 295,000 sq ft warehouse.

The technology enables managers to focus on any part of the machinery and see an animated rendering of its performance.

It is expected to become more important across the next 18 months as Ocado seeks to double its product range in which it will sell non-food items such as kitchen utensils.

Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner said: “We used 3-D gaming technology to make the moving images realistic.”

A second distribution centre is scheduled to open at the beginning of next year as Ocado seeks to more than triple sales to £2bn.

“We are going to move from being a supermarket today to a hypermarket by the end of this year,” Steiner said.

Ocado is yet to make a full year pretax profit.