The distribution centre of the future: scale, flexibility and the need for automation

Own the future – from MHD magazine

The distribution centre of the future will need scale, flexibility and automation. As technology advances and society changes, consumers are demanding services faster and more readily available. Current warehousing and distribution practices won’t be sufficient to keep up with market expectations, so forward-thinking businesses are investing in flexible, scalable and automated solutions to future-proof their operations. Read more

Logistics of the future: underground distribution

What logistics of the future could look like: cargo in containers moving through underground tunnels. (Image by Cargo sous terrain).

Imagine a futuristic world where cargo moves through an underground network of tunnels – automatically, quietly and intelligently enabling just-in-time deliveries.
Cargo sous terrain (CST) is a Swiss-led consortium set to transform logistics and propel the industry into digitalisation.
CST envisions an automated, digitally controlled comprehensive logistics system in Switzerland by 2045, aimed at promoting economic competitiveness and improving quality of life. CST will ensure the safe, secure and punctual delivery of containers, pallets and parcels. At its backbone is an underground system of transport tunnels linking the business centres north of the Alps with environmentally friendly distribution in cities and industrial areas.
The first section of the tunnel system is expected to be ready in 2030 and will connect the logistics hub Härkingen-Niederbipp (near the capital Bern) with Zurich. When completed, the fully automated network will extend from Geneva to St Gallen and from Basel to Luzern, with an additional branch from Bern to Thun. The full network will have 500 km of tunnels, serving more than 80 hubs for the loading and unloading of industrial and commercial goods for about 10 million people. With 1 million square meters of surface underground, CST will be the largest warehouse in Switzerland.

The full underground network connecting Swiss business centres with cities and industrial areas will have 500 km of tunnels when completed. (Image by Cargo sous terrain).

“CST is the most ambitious and advanced logistics project for Switzerland in the next decades and could potentially serve as a role model for the rest of the world,” said Stefan Karlen, CEO of Panalpina, which has just become a shareholder.
CST will reduce the number of trucks on existing roads, in particular at traffic bottlenecks, by 40 per cent. Freight traffic in cities will be reduced by up to 30 per cent, thanks to the systematic and efficient delivery by electric vehicles that meet urban requirements. The system will run entirely on renewable energy. With end-to-end digitalisation, the system will operate in an extremely flexible environment, with dynamic deliveries in small units and guaranteed arrival times for goods.
End-to-end digitalisation from source to destination will make cargo transport smarter, more efficient and sustainable in the long run. (Image by Cargo sous terrain).

The building permit and planning phase of CST will start with the passing of the CST law, expected in late 2020. As a first step, the Swiss Federal Council will open consultation on the new legislation that will allow CST to become reality.

Coles signs on the dotted line for $950m automation project

Coles Group Limited has executed definitive contracts with WITRON Australia Pty Ltd to develop two new automated ambient distribution centres, one each in Queensland and New South Wales.
WITRON Australia is a subsidiary of WITRON Logistik + Informatik GmbH, the German-based builder of automated distribution centres that deliver improved product availability for customers and cost efficiencies.
Concurrently, Coles has also entered into agreements for lease catering for the development of the distribution centres at Redbank in south-west Brisbane with Goodman Group, and Kemps Creek in western Sydney, with a joint venture of Goodman and Brickworks Limited.
The term of each lease will be 20 years.
The agreements with WITRON, Goodman and Brickworks are subject to the satisfaction of certain property related conditions precedent including development approvals.
Coles CEO Steven Cain said: “With the signing of these important contracts, Coles is one step closer to implementing a key element of its supply chain modernisation strategy. This will provide a safer working environment for our team members, lower supply chain costs, enhance our overall business competitiveness and make life easier for our customers by having the right offer in the right location.”
The total capital expenditure relating to Coles’ supply chain modernisation project for the two automated distribution centres is approximately $950 million over six years.
Coles also said it will recognise a pre-tax provision of $146 million in its 2019 interim result as a significant item, relating to lease exit costs and redundancies for existing distribution centres that will be closed over a five year period.
 
 

Paccar Parts opens new DC in Brisbane

PACCAR Parts has officially opened a second parts distribution centre (PDC) in the Brisbane logistics hub of Berrinba, Brisbane, in a move to reduce delivery times to dealers and boost parts availability to customers in its retail network.
The purpose-built facility features just over 6,000 square metres of warehouse space.
The PDC, which shipped its first orders in December, services locations throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales (NSW). By year’s end it will supply locations in the Northern Territory and regional NSW.
The Brisbane PDC will enable PACCAR Parts to offer next day delivery to 74 per cent of its dealers, which represents an increase of next-day deliveries by 68 per cent.
“PACCAR Parts’ mission is uptime – moving customers and businesses forward,” said PACCAR Parts General Manager, Chris Scheel.
“Ensuring the availability of parts and service to customers is the number one thing we need to do in the parts business.
“For primary dealers we’re now delivering next day versus three-four days previously. For VORs (vehicle off road), the dealer drops in an order, we pick the part, and it’s received within hours,” he says – adding that dealers will also benefit from reduced freight cost in these emergency situations.
Delivery speed – and accuracy – will be enhanced by the latest technology installed in the PDC. The Berrinba warehouse is the first PACCAR PDC to use 100 per cent voice pick technology. Staff are fitted with headsets that tell them where to go and what to pick – and also in what order to determine the most efficient pick pattern.
Brisbane Distribution Centre - Front“Voice-pick technology allows our distribution associates to have two hands free and keep their eyes where they are picking. This enhances quality, efficiency and safety,” said Scheel.
Berrinba is also the first PACCAR PDC globally to feature ‘wire guidance’, an electromechanical system that controls vehicle steering by tracking an energised guidewire secured in the floor. This system frees operators from steering responsibilities in very narrow aisles, such as those that stock Paccar’s smaller stock items.
“Fast-moving parts are stored at the front of the building to really speed up velocity,” said Scheel.
Nationally, PACCAR Parts has also been working closely with dealers to improve retail availability. This has resulted in a 45 per cent reduction in emergency orders over the past five years; and 97 per cent retail availability He notes this has been achieved in a period when stock-keeping units have grown by 35 per cent.
This growth will be sustained, in part, by big investments both in product as well as the dealer/retail network. Speaking at the PDC opening, PACCAR Australia managing director, Andrew Hadjikakou, said the company would invest heavily in new product over the next two years, including two new Kenworth models under development (T410 and T360); and the move to locally manufacturing of DAF, starting with the best-selling CF mid-year.
Significant further investment is also slated for PACCAR’s 80-strong retail network, with five new locations added in 2017 and another four to come on line in 2018. At the same time, PACCAR is in the midst of expanding the TRP store network, with new outlets scheduled to open in Ballarat and Pakenham through March and April.
“To support this, this facility has become absolutely necessary,” said Hadjikakou.

Arbon Equipment expands Rite-Hite training centre

Arbon Equipment, the Australian service and distribution arm of loading dock and industrial facility equipment manufacturer Rite-Hite, is opening a new showroom and training centre in Laverton North, in Melbourne’s west.
The existing 4500sqm Laverton North facility will be overhauled to include a 450sqm showroom showcasing industrial manufacturing equipment, including loading dock levellers and vehicle restraints. Technicians and customers will have access to ongoing education sessions at the adjacent new training centre space that award credits from the Australian Institute of Architects. Course options will cover dock safety, preventative maintenance, or high-volume low-speed (HVLS) fans.
“We look forward to introducing these innovations and adding value for our customers in Australia,” said Lee Lorenc, General Manager, Arbon Australia. “The new, industry-leading facilities and roll-out of cutting-edge products will make 2018 an impactful year for Rite-Hite and Arbon.”
An open house for the showroom and training centre is scheduled for 11 May, 2018.

Parkes National Logistics Hub

Parkes Shire Council is releasing further information about the opportunities available at its national logistics hub.
 

 
You may remember Parkes Shire Council from its cheeky video back in May 2017, bidding for Amazon to choose the area for its first Australian distribution operations.

Amazon launches fulfilment service in Australia

Businesses registered to sell on Amazon’s Australian Marketplace are now able to access Amazon’s logistics service, Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).
Through the service, businesses send products to Amazon’s fulfilment centre and, when a customer places an order, Amazon’s fulfilment staff picks, packs and ships the product on behalf of the business, and handles customer service and returns.
Sellers are charged for storage space and the orders Amazon fulfils, while the cost of shipping is included in fees.
“Size doesn’t matter in the digital economy and Amazon Marketplace helps to level the playing field when it comes to starting or growing a business,” said Amit Mahto, Head of Fulfilment by Amazon – Australia. “We are focused on helping Australian businesses of all sizes succeed by inventing on their behalf and making our technology available to them, and FBA is a fantastic example of this.”
Customers purchasing items sold on Amazon’s Marketplace now have access to Amazon’s delivery offers that were previously only available on order direct from Amazon’s own stock, for example free delivery on eligible orders above $49, and other one-day expedited delivery in select areas across Australia.
Amazon noted that all FBA orders will be eligible for Prime delivery features, once the Prime service launches in mid-2018.

Construction begins on new Fujitsu DC in NSW

Industrial builder Vaughan Constructions has begun work on the new Australian headquarters and distribution centre of air-conditioner manufacturer Fujitsu General Australia.
The five-star Green Star energy–rated development is being built in Eastern Creek in Western Sydney, New South Wales.
The 11,093sqm facility will house Fujitsu General Australia’s head office, 8,500sqm distribution warehouse and the company’s support service, Fujitsu General Assist.
“The development will provide space and resource for Fujitsu General’s continued growth in the air-conditioning market,” said Philip Perham, Managing Director, Fujitsu General Australia.
“The building design has a five-star Green Star rating and follows the company’s sustainability philosophy, to ensure we continue to safeguard a rich natural environment for future generations.”
Andrew Noble, Managing Director of Vaughan Constructions, added: “This pivotal piece of infrastructure will not only support the operational needs of Fujitsu General, but provides a superior work environment with exceptional staff facilities.”
Fujitsu_cam2a_20180205a
Fujitsu General has signed a ten-year lease from site landlord Jacfin, who appointed Vaughan Constructions for the multimillion-dollar development.
Vaughan Constructions and Fujitsu General consulted Sydney-based design firm ODCM on the design concept for the facility, which is expected to be completed in December 2018.
Image below:
(L–R) Ray Waterhouse (Jacfin), Priscilla Waterhouse (Jacfin), Philip Perham (Fujitsu General Australia), Mark Taylor (Fujitsu General Australia) and Andrew Noble (Vaughan Constructions) at the sod-turning ceremony on 15 February 2018.
(L–R) Ray Waterhouse (Jacfin), Priscilla Waterhouse (Jacfin), Philip Perham (Fujitsu General Australia), Mark Taylor (Fujitsu General Australia) and Andrew Noble (Vaughan Constructions) at the sod-turning ceremony on 15 February 2018.

Amazon Australia launch may have gone “horribly wrong”

Australian retailers partnering with Amazon have been left confused after the e-commerce company failed to launch its full Australian site on Black Friday, 24 November, ChannelNews reports.
The retailers have reportedly not received any communication from Amazon, since getting an email earlier in the week advising them to be prepared for a soft launch at 2pm yesterday, Thursday, 23 November.
ChannelNews shared that an executive from Synnex, a major distribution partner for Amazon, said it had not received a single order.
“It appears that something has gone horribly wrong and they have decided not to launch,” the executive said.
One retailer told ChannelNews that it felt that it was being kept in the dark. “We have no order, we don’t even have access to an Amazon tracking portal,” the source said. “Our stock is sitting in warehouses ready to go.”
Technology distributor Ingram Micro said it had had no orders so far, and suggested that the original communication announcing a soft launch may have been a tactic by Amazon to prompt local competitors to announce their own Black Friday discounts.

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