Woolworths turns sod on automated online fulfilment centre in Western Sydney

Woolworths’ 22,000sqm Auburn CFC, set to open in 2024, will greatly improve efficiency and speed while reducing labour costs.

Cutting-edge Knapps’ automation technology will enable hundreds of human ‘personal shoppers’ employed at the site to select and dispatch up to 50,000 home deliveries a week across Western Sydney. Personal shoppers will continue to select fresh-food items such as fruit, veg and meat.

“Over the past two years alone, we’ve seen the demand for online groceries in Western Sydney more than triple,” Woolworths director of eCommerce, Annette Karantoni, said in a December 2021 media release. “The development of Auburn will provide a major boost to our same-day delivery capacity in Western Sydney, unlocking faster and more flexible online shopping options for our customers. For added convenience, we’ll also offer pick-up bays with a ‘direct-to-boot’ service.”

See the micro-fulfilment technology to be installed in Woolworths’ Auburn CFC in action at its Carrum Downs, Vic e-store:

“Western Sydney never stops and it’s great to see businesses evolving to meet the changing demands of a busy population,” said NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres. “Investing in facilities like this creates quality jobs closer to where people’s homes are as we reshape the way we live, work and shop in a 24-hour economy.”

Woolworths is aiming for a 5-Star Green Star Rating from the Green Building Council of Australia for its Auburn CFC. Plans include installing solar PV panels, rainwater harvesting technology and charging facilities for electric delivery vehicles.

“We know the steps we take to become a more sustainable business today will create a better tomorrow for generations to come. It’s why we’re investing in sustainable design to minimise our impact and help support a greener future for Western Sydney,” said Karantoni.

Auburn CFC builds on Woolworths’ recent investments in micro-fulfilment technology at e-stores in Carrum Downs, Victoria and Maroochydore, Queensland supermarkets.

Online orders now account for more than 11 per cent of Woolworths’ total sales, with the company reporting a 53 percent increase in eCommerce sales in the quarter ended September 2021.

Source: Woolworths Group starts construction on its first automate online fulfilment centre in the heart of Western Sydney I Woolworths Group media release, 8 Dec 2021

Lead image: Artist’s renditon of Woolworths’ new estore in Auburn, Western Sydney. Image courtesy of Woolworths Group.