Drakes Supermarkets has officially opened its 17-hectre state-of-the-art distribution centre (DC) in Adelaide North. The DC was funded entirely by Drakes and marks the South Australian family business’ recent split from the Metcash Group.
The site, at Edinburgh North, is one of the most advanced independent distribution and logistics centres in Australia and features an Australia-first in the deployment of Crown Equipment’s fully electric lithium ion trucks.
“The lithium ion powered forklifts from Crown Equipment will allow us to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 10 years using just one battery. For every full cycle on each truck we will reduce our costs by five dollars – this presents an enormous cost-saving for us over time,” Roger Drake, Managing Director, Drakes Supermarkets said.
Crown Equipment provided Drakes with 50 new lift trucks – including PC Series rider pallet trucks, ESR Series reach trucks and an SCF counterbalance forklift – all fitted with the latest generation lithium ion batteries. Crown Warehouse Solutions also supplied and fitted 42 Blue Giant hydraulic dock levellers and shelters.
The new DC will house 23,000 separate lines of products and utilises $15 million worth of robotics, provided by Dematic.
The system used in the DC is the first robotic piece picking module Dematic will deploy in Australia and only the second globally. It will be used to individually pick inventory items for store replenishment using a “goods-to-person” configuration.
“Our new facility is the most advanced independent distribution and logistics centre in South Australia and is a key part of our group’s vertical integration strategy within the supermarket sector. We are excited that the centre will incorporate robotics as part of a wider high-tech warehouse picking system,” Glenn Sutcliffe, Logistics Manager at Drakes Supermarkets said.
The design, planning and approvals of the facility took approximately six months, with the build, fit out and testing taking a further 11 months for completion.
Drakes will also be employing a further 140 full-time staff and will provide advanced training to all employees, adding to their over 6,000 current staffing levels.
Drakes Supermarkets is a family owned and operated grocery retailer of 37 stores across South Australia. Over the last 45 years, they have become Australia’s largest independent grocery group with stores also in Queensland. The organisation employs more than 6,000 people and remains committed to supporting local suppliers, farmers and the local community.