Australian retailer Woolworths has spoken more about its new automated distribution centre, which we highlighted in April 2018. The DC isn’t due to open until February 2019 but is being tested now.
It’s been reported that the facility being built near Melbourne will now cost over AU$500m, but the automation will deliver not just efficiencies in supply chain operations. It will also generate “material instore efficiencies” according to Brad Banducci, Woolworths’ CEO.
Generating instore efficiencies
These instore efficiencies include the ability to create mixed pallets which are destined for a specific aisle in-store. The pallet can be taken directly to the aisle and used for replenishment, cutting down on work in the store and congestion in the aisles. We highlighted this technology earlier this year in our Automation in grocery distribution and logistics report.
Streamlining the supply chain
Woolworths also expects the new DC to enable it to reduce the number of suppliers delivering stock direct to store, to stock a wider range of products which are localised to a particular store’s shopper profile, and to improve workplace safety. This demonstrates how supply chain developments are increasingly having an impact way beyond traditional metrics.
Automation in grocery distribution and logistics
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