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Woolworths Group’s supply-chain arm, Primary Connect, has selected logistics technology company Dematic to supply an automated fulfilment system for the new National Distribution Centre (NDC) at the Moorebank Logistics Park in Sydney.

Dematic said the new system for the NDC would build store-friendly pallets for Woolworths’ retail stores. The Flexible Mixed Case Order Fulfilment system, powered by the Dematic iQ Warehouse Management System, will handle more than 9000 products from 900 suppliers delivering daily to more than 1000 stores nationally.

The Dematic system will interface into Woolworths’ systems and provide capabilities such as system interconnectivity, data-driven intelligence, and decision support tools.

The 40,700-square-metre Moorebank NDC is planned to include a significant amount of automation, which can prove the flexibility to cater for seasonal and other peaks in demand, such as those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NDC is designed to deliver store orders and cater for Woolworth’s expected growth with built-in scalability and modularity when it comes online in late 2023.

The transport advantages alone are expected to provide benefits to Woolworths, helping to remove at least 26,000 truck movements between Woolworths facilities from New South Wales roads every year.

Primary Connect managing director and Woolworths Group chief supply chain officer Paul Graham said the investment at Moorebank is designed to transform the way the company serves its stores and strengthen its network.

“Cutting-edge automation will build tailored pallets for specific aisles in individual stores – helping us improve on-shelf product availability with faster restocking, reducing congestion in stores and enabling a safer work environment for our teams with less manual handling,” Graham said.

“We expect the new facilities to also help us progress our localised ranging efforts, with the ability to hold thousands of additional products centrally than we can in our existing facilities.”

Dematic senior director – integrated systems Pas Tomasiello said the new facility is designed to help Woolworths carry a higher range of slow-moving packaged products more efficiently in a central location, rather than being spread across multiple sites.

“Consolidation, coupled with advanced automation, will allow Woolworths to achieve new volume milestones and make significant gains in the speed and accuracy of deliveries to stores across the nation,” Tomasiello said.

Dematic APAC CEO Michael Jerogin said the company’s local capacity with more than 600 employees and a manufacturing facility in Belrose, Sydney, ensures its ability to provide a quality service.

“We are very proud to be a trusted partner of Woolworths and thrilled to be building on this partnership by playing a key role in Woolworths’ automation strategy,” Jerogin said.

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