Catch GM of fulfilment Joe Schmieg details how the eTailer is preparing its logistics for Black Friday and Christmas.
Catch’s customer base was already growing rapidly before the pandemic, but it is clear that lockdowns fast-tracked the trend and online shopping has experienced a significant increase in demand over the past 18 months.
Consumers turned to eCommerce for many of their essential needs – some for the very first time – and many made online shopping an integral part of their everyday shopping routine, even after lockdowns were lifted.
To keep up with demand, Catch had to scale the distribution process quickly.
We have been using automation for a long time, but accelerated our commitment to flexible and mobile automation in the past 12 months.
In the lead up to Christmas 2020, more than 100 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) joined our warehouse operations in Truganina.
The AMR robots are a dynamic, innovative solution to help process goods in the warehouse as quickly as possible.
They are programmed to be randomised, therefore improving efficiencies all around the grid location, and providing a better customer end to end experience.
In addition to the AMRs, Catch is the first business in the region to roll out The Geek+ Double Deep Bin-to-Person C200M robot from Körber, making the goods-to-person operations more efficient.
It is designed to operate in narrow aisles, reach new heights, and increase storage capacity.
These robots can adapt depending on where the demand is.
If we are experiencing an increase in a certain product, they can very quickly change their processes and prioritise getting products ready for dispatch.
Going into 2022, we are incredibly excited to be opening our new fulfillment centre in Sydney early next year to provide a better and faster experience for our New South Wales and Queensland based customers.
We are expanding our national footprint and helping our customers get the products they need when they need them, right across Australia.
The launch of the new fulfilment centre will bring the total number of Catch fulfillment centres to three and will be our first warehouse outside of Victoria – bringing us closer to the customer.
Catch is at the forefront of innovation in the eCommerce industry in Australia, and has a unique understanding of the Australian online shopper.
Our warehouses have been optimised for maximum efficiency with the integration of different automated technologies that help us fulfil orders quickly.
The new Sydney fulfilment centre will be our most technologically sophisticated centre to date, with over 300 of the same robots we have been using in Victoria.
As the eCommerce industry has continued to evolve, so have customer expectations.
Shoppers now expect their goods much faster than before, putting more pressure on our logistics systems and delivery partners.
To provide an even better shopping experience for our customers we have looked at every step of the delivery chain and we work closely with our delivery partners to mitigate the impact on customer deliveries.
We’ve been able to take advantage of our close connections with other Wesfarmers brands by rolling out click and collect services to over 400 Kmart and Target stores nationwide – a service we’re currently offering free of charge.
It’s giving customers an alternative option to shop with confidence and minimal disruptions.
Catch also has the benefit of a strong marketplace.
This allows us to diversify our supply and provide an even bigger range of options to our customers, whilst giving smaller Australian retailers access to our engaged customer base.
We are incredibly proud of our team who work hard every day to ensure minimal disruptions, and are always working on initiatives to bring added choice and convenience to our customers.