Woolworths Group has commenced building its first ever automated customer fulfilment centre to better serve the online grocery needs of Western Sydney customers.
Set to open in 2024, Woolworths’ Auburn Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) is being built by Vaughan Constructions and will be equipped with Knapp’s automation technology.
The technology will allow the hundreds of personal shoppers employed at the site to pick and dispatch up to 50,000 home deliveries a week across Western Sydney.
The state-of-the-art 22,000sqm CFC – equivalent to two times the size of Western Sydney Stadium – is located in the heart of Western Sydney at 11-13 Percy Street, Auburn.
Woolworths Director of eCommerce, Annette Karantoni said: “Online grocery shopping is booming in Western Sydney as more and more customers look to reclaim time in their busy lives.
“Over the past two years alone, we’ve seen the demand for online groceries in Western Sydney more than triple. We need to continue investing in new capacity to keep pace with demand and rising customer expectations.
“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 for local customers who prefer to collect online orders themselves.”
The NSW Planning Department approved the State Significant development in June 2021.
NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres said: “Western Sydney never stops and it’s great to see businesses evolving to meet the changing demands of a busy population. 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.”
Vaughan Constructions General Manager NSW, Mark Cormack said: “We’re very excited to play such an integral role in what will be the latest in online customer and delivery service for Woolworths in Western Sydney. Building state-of-the-art facilities for our market leading clients in the food and beverage industry is the sort of challenge that really drives our team to deliver exceptional results.”
The Auburn CFC is targeting a 5-Star Green Star Rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, with plans for rainwater harvesting, solar panels and electric vehicle charging facilities for delivery trucks.
Annette concluded: “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.”
Woolworths stores remain a key part of the eCommerce network, with investments continuing in Direct to Boot, in-store fulfilment and on-demand delivery. More than 80 per cent of online orders are fulfilled by stores. The development of the Auburn CFC builds on recent Woolworths investments in micro-fulfilment technology at its Carrum Downs, Victoria and Maroochydore, Queensland supermarkets.
Woolworths reported a 53 percent increase in eCommerce sales in the quarter ended September 2021 and they now account for more than 11 percent of all sales.