Woolworths rolls out micro-fulfilment tech in Melbourne

Woolworths has started picking the first online orders for Melbourne customers from its newly built e-com floor located at the back of its existing Carrum Downs Supermarket.
The 2,400sqm space 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.
Woolworths has appointed around 50 new online team members to help fulfil orders from the Carrum Downs eStore to date, with 100 more to come onboard as the site ramps up to full capacity in the months ahead.
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.
“The continued growth in online grocery gives us an opportunity to reimagine what the future of our stores will look like,” Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said:
“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.
“The micro-fulfillment technology in this eStore is a potential game-changer. It will help us deliver unparalleled speed and accuracy in the online picking process while keeping us close to our customers for faster and more flexible deliveries to the home.
“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.
“Importantly, the eStore layout also helps reduce congestion in the aisles for our in-store customers, as our personal shoppers pick most items in the back of house.”
Woolworths’ online orders have more than doubled in Victoria in 2020. The Carrum Downs eStore will service a key growth corridor in Melbourne and help Woolworths keep pace with customer demand.
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.
CEO Takeoff Technologies, José V. Aguerrevere said: “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.”
Insitu Group was the builder and the project created up to 70 jobs throughout the construction.

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