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Woolworths announces plans to build new CFC in Western Sydney

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Supermarket giant Woolworths has announced plans to construct a new automated customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in Auburn, New South Wales.

The CFC is subject to NSW Department of Planning approval and will be built in partnership with Knapp.

WooliesX Managing Director Amanda Bardwell said that they have 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,” Bardwell 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,” she said.

She continued that this fulfilment centre will deliver a step change in their online offer for their 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,” she said.

As the online grocery needs of Western Sydney customers grows, Knapp’s automation technology will help Woolworths’ personal shoppers pick and dispatch up to 50,000 home deliveries a week in Western Sydney.

The plans come as Woolworths reported eCommerce sales growth of 92 per cent from July toDecember 2020, which now account for around eight percent of total sales.

If approved, the 22,000sqm Auburn CFC will support up to 250 full-time equivalent roles and around 440 jobs during construction.

Located at 11-13 Percy Street, the Auburn site forms part of an industrial precinct including warehouses, manufacturing, freight logistics and large format retail.

The plans provide for two levels of ancillary office space, car parking for more than 330 cars and loading and delivery docks.

The proposal includes rainwater harvesting, solar panels and electric vehicle charging facilities, and the building will target a 5-Star Green Star Rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

“In collaboration with Woolworths, we’ve developed a highly automated and economical concept for online grocery,” said Rudolph Hansl, Vice President Food Retail Solutions at Knapp.

“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,” Hansl said.

The CFC will use Takeoff’s micro-fulfilment system using Knapp automation technology at a much larger scale compared to other Woolworths’ sites such as in Carrum Downs, Victoria, Moorehouse, Christchurch and Penrose, Auckland.

According to Woolworths, its stores remain a key part of the eCommerce network, with investment to continue in Pick Up (including Direct to Boot), in-store fulfilment and on-demand delivery.

Construction for the CFC is expected to commence in 2021 ahead of an operational launch by 2024.

Source: Woolworths

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