Woolworths rolls out US micro-fulfilment technology in Melbourne

At the back of its existing Carrum Downs supermarket lies Woolworths’ newly built eStore. Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci has labeled the micro-fulfillment technology as a “potential game-changer” for online orders.

Woolworths’ online orders have more than doubled in Victoria in 2020 and the retailer has started picking the first online orders for Melbourne customers, using its Carrum Downs eStore.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the eStore is helping the supermarket giant deliver speed and accuracy in the online picking process and allowing more flexible deliveries to the home.

Woolworths is the first retailer in Australia to deploy micro-automation technology by US-based Takeoff technologies.

“The Carrum Downs eStore will service a key growth corridor in Melbourne and help Woolworths keep pace with customer demand,” Woolworths said.

The new high-tech systems in the back of the Carrum Downs store to help ship more home deliveries across the southeast. The system is called Takeoff Technologies.

The 2,400sqm eStore space, located at the back of its existing Carrum Downs Supermarket in Melbourne, uses state-of-the-art technology to sort and move products from automated storage units directly to team members hand picking customer orders.

These units can hold up to 10,000 of the most in-demand grocery products, while fresh fruit and vegetables and meat will continue to be picked from the shopfloor.

According to Woolworths, the automation dramatically improves the speed, efficiency and accuracy of the picking process, allowing thousands of online orders to be delivered to customers in south-east Melbourne suburbs each week, including on a same day basis.

“As customer expectations continue to rise, we’re investing in new technology to keep pace with the growth and focusing on building an ever more convenient online offer,” Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said.

He said the eStore layout also helps reduce congestion in the aisles for in-store customers, as the retailer’s personal shoppers pick most items in the back of house.

Woolworths Carrum Downs personal shopper Belinda Victor with green tote.

“This speed and proximity is key to boosting the availability of the same day deliveries more and more of our customers want given their busy lives.”

“We’re incredibly excited to launch our first site with the Woolworths Group. Woolworths is an incredible company, and we are thrilled to be working with them at a time when online grocery is taking off,” CEO Takeoff Technologies, José V. Aguerrevere said.

Woolworths first announced its partnership with Takeoff in August 2019.

Carrum Downs is the first of three initial Woolworths Group sites to trial the capability, with two more in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand to follow. Global technology firm Knapp has also helped with the fitout.

More than 150 team members will be hired to operate newly built site within the Carrum Downs Supermarket. Insitu Group was the builder and the project created up to 70 jobs throughout the construction.

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