• Wed. Oct 27th, 2021



‘A potential game-changer’: Woolworths is trialling new automation technology in Melbourne to speed up the fulfilment of online orders

  • Woolworths has opened up a new floor at one of its Melbourne supermarkets to speed up fulfilment of online orders.
  • The shop floor, at the back of the Carrum Downs Supermarket in Melbourne, has technology that moves products from automated storage units to staff members.
  • Woolworths plans to trial this new system at more stores in New Zealand.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Woolworths has launched new automation technology at one of its supermarkets in Melbourne to address the rise in online orders.

A new e-com floor spanning 2,400 square metres opened at the back of the Carrum Downs Supermarket, which uses technology to sort and move items from automated storage units to staff members that fill out customer orders. These units are able to hold up to 10,000 grocery items, save for products like meat, fruit and vegetables that will be picked from the shopfloor.

Woolworths partnered with automated grocery fulfillment company Takeoff Technologies to roll out this micro-automation technology, which is set to ramp up the speed, accuracy and efficiency of the picking process. It will allow thousands of orders to be filled each week and sent to customers across southeast Melbourne.

According to Woolworths, the technology “helps dispatch five times the online order volume of a standard Woolworths store.”

Woolworths employed 50 new online workers to fulfill online orders from the store and has 100 more positions to come.

A Woolworths spokesperson told Business Insider Australia via email that the technology “is a good development for employment”, with “new roles working with this technology, which is exciting from a career growth and development perspective.”

Online orders across Woolworths stores have doubled in Victoria in 2020, with the eStore set to help address this demand.

“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,” Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said in a statement.

“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.”

Carrum Downs is the first of three Woolworths stores to trial this technology. Another two are on the way for Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand, with Woolies also looking at doing another trial in Australia.

The move comes after Woolworths expanded a trial of cashless Metro stores in Australia. The supermarket giant announced it will make its Metro stores in Yarraville and Caulfield North in Victoria, and Roseberry in New South Wales cashless as they had fewer cash transactions.

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