To improve customer experience in home delivery, Woolworths is planning its first automated fulfillment technology, creating 250 new jobs for personal shoppers. Using automation technology by KNAPP, Woolworths personal shoppers will be able to fulfill over 50,000 online deliveries a week.
Innovative fulfillment center for picking e-commerce orders
Woolworths has announced plans to construct a new automated fulfillment center in Auburn, New South Wales to better serve the online grocery needs of Western Sydney customers.
The development application for the fulfillment center is still subject to NSW Department of Planning approval. If approved, the 22,000sqm Auburn fulfillment center will support up to 250 full-time equivalent roles and around 440 jobs during construction.
Woolworths chose KNAPP as partner for the realization of the project. Innovative technologies will help Woolworths’ personal shoppers pick and dispatch more than 50,000 orders a week. Customers have their orders conveniently delivered to their door.
The plans come as Woolworths reported e-commerce sales growth of 92 per cent from July-December 2020. E-commerce sales now account for around eight percent of total sales at Woolworths.
Consumers benefit by the investment in automation technology
WooliesX Managing Director, Amanda Bardwell said: “We’ve seen an extraordinary acceleration in online grocery shopping over the past year. As we look ahead, we see more and more of our customers turning to the ease and convenience of home delivery to reclaim time in their busy lives. 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 center will deliver a step change in our online offer for our Western Sydney customers. 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.”
Subject to planning approvals, construction is expected to commence in 2021. Go-live is planned for 2024.
Rudolf Hansl, Vice President Food Retail Solutions at KNAPP: “ In collaboration with Woolworths, we’ve developed a highly automated and economical concept for online grocery. 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.”
New growth potential for online food retail
Auburn is the next stage of e-commerce investment following strong growth and increased scale. It builds on recent investments with Takeoff’s micro-fulfilment solution (using the KNAPP technology) live at Carrum Downs, Victoria, Moorehouse, Christchurch and Penrose, Auckland. A further site is under construction at Maroochydore, Queensland.
Auburn will use the same underlying KNAPP technology at a much larger scale and is expected to deliver efficiency benefits as Woolworths unlocks new capacity for growth. Woolworths stores remain a key part of the e-commerce network, with investment to continue in pick up (including Direct to Boot), in-store fulfilment and on-demand delivery.
Amanda Bardwell concluded: “Auburn and our other fulfillment centers play important roles complementing the work of our store teams. They help us better serve the most densely populated areas with the strongest demand for online groceries. But even as we invest in new fulfillment centers, local stores remain the heart of our online operation. By making the most of our unrivalled national store network, we can stay close to our customers for faster same day and on-demand delivery options, as well as convenient pick up solutions.”
Woolworths is an Australian supermarket and grocery chain, part of the Woolworths Group. The company was founded in 1924 and is now Australia’s largest supermarket chain with a market share of 33% in 2019. A major concern for the company is long-term partnerships with their suppliers through fair and equitable trade. Woolworths specializes in groceries, but also sells pet supplies, household and drugstore products, DVDs and more.
KNAPP is one of the leading providers of all-in-one intralogistics solutions, automated storage systems and warehouse logistics software. Across the globe, countless customers place their trust in the experience and innovative power of the KNAPP group. KNAPP specializes in solutions in food and empties logistics, implementing solutions in the highest quality to overcome the challenges particular to food retail. Countless customers including Lotte Mart, Auchan Direct or Albertsons rely on customized system solutions by KNAPP for the fast-growing online food retail.
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More information about the solution:
Rendering of planned online fulfillment center in Auburn (©Woolworths)
KNAPPs OSR Shuttle will be a central element of the online grocery solution (©KNAPP/Niederwieser)
Amanda Bardwell, Managing Director, WooliesX (©Woolworths)
Rudolf Hansl, Vice President Food Retail Solutions, KNAPP (©KNAPP/Kanizaj)