Australian retailer Coles has secured the locations for two new high-tech customer fulfilment centres (CFCs) that will use technology from UK-based Ocado Group.
Coles signed an agreement with Ocado in March 2019, which gave the retailer access Ocado’s online grocery platform, automated single-pick fulfilment technology and home delivery solution.
The automated technology will now be implemented at the CFCs in Wetherill Park, New South Wales and in Truganina Victoria, which are expected to commence operation in financial year 2023 (beginning 1 July 2023).
Steven Cain, chief executive of Coles, said the investment in Coles’ technology-led transformation would support much-needed employment opportunities at a time when coronavirus (Covid-19) had led many businesses to cut or delay their investment plans.
“We remain committed to our strategy of smarter selling through efficiency and pace of change, while partnering with world-class technology partners to provide the capability we need for a second century of sustainable growth,” Cain said.
Cain said Ocado’s online fulfilment solution, which also includes new website technology for Coles Online and Ocado’s delivery management technology to maximise transport efficiency, would transform the Coles Online experience for customers while also reducing waste and improving safety for team members.
“Ocado has been a world leader in online fulfilment for more than a decade, and through our exclusive Australian partnership we will use their proven technology to offer customers more products than ever before, delivered at a time to suit them, while building capacity to service the growing demand for online food and grocery shopping.”
Coles joins major international grocery retailers including Kroger in the US, Sobeys in Canada, Morrisons in the UK, Groupe Casino in France and Aeon in Japan in partnering with Ocado.
Luke Jensen, chief executive of Ocado Solutions, said securing the development sites was an extremely exciting moment for the Coles-Ocado partnership, following the recent opening of Ocado's first international CFCs for partners in France and Canada.
“Ocado's technology has revolutionised the way in which grocery shopping is done online,” Jensen said.
“When these two Coles CFCs go live and begin to ramp up, they will be instrumental in delivering unrivalled online grocery experiences to Coles customers in Victoria and New South Wales. They will also create exciting job opportunities for engineers looking to work with some of the most cutting-edge robotics and automation technology in the world.”