Woolworths has announced plans to construct a new automated customer fulfilment centre in Auburn, New South Wales.
The customer fulfilment centre (CFC) is subject to NSW Department of Planning approval and will be built to cater to growing online grocery needs in Western Sydney.
Amanda Bardwell, Managing Director at Woolies, said the company has seen an extraordinary acceleration in online grocery shopping over the past year.
“As we look ahead, we expect more and more customers will turn to the ease and convenience of home delivery to reclaim time in their busy lives,” she said.
“To keep pace with the demand, we need to innovate with new technology to boost capacity and ensure we’re continuing to offer the best possible online grocery experience.
“This fulfilment centre will deliver a step change in our online offer for our Western Sydney customers.”
If approved, the 22,000 sqm facility – to be located at 11-13 Percy St – will create up to 250 full-time roles and around 440 jobs during construction.
The site will include two levels of ancillary office space, car parking for more than 330 cars and loading and delivery docks.
The proposal also includes rainwater harvesting, solar panels and electric vehicle charging facilities, with an aim to target a 5-Star Green Star Rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.
It will be built together with automation solutions provider Knapp, whose technology will help Woolworth’s personal shoppers pick and dispatch up to 50,000 home deliveries a week in Western Sydney.
Rudolf Hansl, Vice President Food Retail Solutions at Knapp said they’d developed a highly automated and economical concept for the site in collaboration with Woolworths.
“Our proven technologies enable fast and efficient customer order fulfillment. We’re very pleased to partner with Woolworths and look forward to working together for years to come,” he said.
Amanda said the technology from Knapp would help them get products to customers much faster.
“With Knapp’s world-class automation, our team of personal shoppers will be able to pick many more orders, offering our customers faster delivery options and extra windows to choose from,” she said.
The CFC will use Takeoff’s micro-fulfilment system with Knapp’s automation technology at a much larger scale than existing Woolworths’ sites, including an e-com floor at Carrum Downs.
The decision to build the CFC comes as Woolworths reported a growth of 92 per cent for their e-commerce sales from July to December 2020.
E-commerce sales now account for around eight per cent of total sales, with the company continuing to invest in pick up services, in-store fulfilment and on-demand delivery.
Construction will commence in 2021 if the plans are approved, with an aim to be operational by 2024.