Grocery shoppers in Brisbane’s southern suburbs will be able to go straight to the warehouse to pick up their eggs, bread, milk and meat after Woolworths launched its first online fulfilment centre offering “direct to boot pick-up”.
The 10,000 sq m facility in Goodman Group’s $350 million Rochedale Motorway Estate will be able to handle about 30,000 home deliveries and customer pick-ups per week as the supermarket giant ramps up its warehouse and supply chain facilities to keep up with the demands of online shoppers.
Incorporating wider aisles and more shelf space than a standard supermarket, the new warehouse allows Woolworths staff to more efficiently and accurately hand-pick orders from a range of more than 25,000 products for vans making home deliveries or for customers waiting impatiently at their cars.
The fulfilment centre is the latest example of how retailers are adapting both their logistics networks and bricks-and-mortar stores to cater for the rise of online shopping, which now accounts for 10 per cent of grocery sales at Woolworths.
Alongside its new Rochedale facility, Woolworths has been rolling out micro-fulfilment centres at the back of its supermarkets to speed up the picking of items for online orders, the latest being a 1250 sq m mini warehouse at the rear of its Maroochydore supermarket on the Sunshine Coast.
This innovation along with onsite click-and-collect car boot pick-ups has transformed supermarkets and neighbourhood shopping centres into “last mile logistics hubs”.
Woolworths managing director of ecommerce, Sally Copland said online grocery shopping has been “well and truly embraced” by its Brisbane customers.
“Over the past three years, we’ve seen the demand for online groceries in metro Brisbane more than triple, a trend we are actually seeing across the entire state of Queensland,” Ms Copland said.
She said the new online fulfilment facility would allow Woolworths to keep pace with demand as well as strengthen its network capability.
“The opening of Rochedale CFC will provide a major boost to our same-day delivery capacity in Brisbane’s south-west,” Ms Copland said.
Also, a beneficiary of the growth of online shopping and the need for new state-of-the-art facilities close to shoppers has been Goodman Group, which developing the new online fulfilment warehouse for Woolworths (the supermarket giant has committed to a 10-year lease) and counts Amazon, Deutsche Post and JD.com among its biggest customers.
Goodman’s Australian CEO Jason Little said the Rochedale property’s strategic location – 18 km from the Brisbane CBD and servicing an area spanning from Beenleigh to Mt Ommaney – would “drive supply chain efficiencies for Woolworths [by] placing them closer to consumers”.
Mr Little also highlighted the sustainability features of the new property, which include rainwater harvesting, smart meters to monitor and reduce energy consumption and more than 850 solar panels that will provide about 20 per cent of the site’s total annual electricity consumption.
Goodman has put sustainability front and centre of its developments, after it achieved carbon neutrality across its global operations last year.
Extracted from AFR