Get more space – from MHD magazine

When you start getting tight in your warehouse, optimisation and scaling your operations can boost your space

  1. Optimising your warehouse storage space

Warehouse functions are an integral part of business operations, so getting the storage flow and functionality right should be at the top of the list of priorities. But all too often, we see warehouses operating with workarounds and outdated racking, resulting in an ineffective storage space and a potentially hazardous work environment.
No two businesses have exactly the same storage requirements, so the pallet racking layout should be designed accordingly to get the most out of the space. Ideally this is something that should be planned prior to selecting a warehouse, as warehouse size and location are also important factors.
A well-optimised storage space takes careful planning and a good understanding of the storage options available. Each storage system has different features that can accommodate different products and carton flow. Perhaps there is also a need for different storage systems for specific areas of your warehouse.
So, when planning to move into a new warehouse or reconfigure your existing facility, we encourage you to take the time assess your existing operational needs and carton sizes to plan your storage facility for the most efficient use of the space.

What are the benefits of optimising your storage facility?
Optimising a warehouse for pallet flow and business scalability offers a number of substantial benefits. Benefits that keep paying off for many years – such as reducing the time it takes to pick orders, improving work processes and the ability to adapt to changing business environment.
By optimising your warehouse with the right storage system, you can even increase the number of pallet spaces available. A much more economical solution compared with moving into a larger warehouse.
What does an optimised storage space consider?

  • The dimensions and weight of products to be stored.
  • Stock levels.
  • Stock movement (frequency in and out of warehouse).
  • Materials handling equipment.
  • Slotting
  • Staging areas required.
  • Building compliance.
  • Workplace health and safety.
  • Temperature requirements (i.e. freezer or cold storage).

Designing your storage space
To determine your specific storage and warehouse requirements it’s important to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the space using data, logic and observation. This will help to determine the number of pallet spaces needed, the specific locations of your products and how much area is required for staging.

“Warehouse operations is a vital part of your business and an ineffective space can cause congestion with goods receiving and order picking.”

Once your storage system has been developed around your business requirements, the optimisation process doesn’t stop there. Further refining your space with appropriate safety line markings, racking labels and compatible materials handling equipment is essential. Reviewing warehouse processes or implementing an improved warehouse management system can also have a big impact on stock management and order fulfilment.

  1. Warehouse scalability: Is your business ready for growth?

Businesses are growing and developing constantly, and remaining agile is key to maintaining a high level of success. Outgrowing your existing facility too quickly can cause costly setbacks, and underutilising your space could mean wasted opportunities.
Planning for scalability ensures your materials handling and storage solutions continue to be effective and efficient now, and well into the future.

What does it mean to have a scalable warehouse?
Businesses aren’t something that you can set and forget. And neither is your warehouse. Scalability allows for your storage space to adapt over time. This means your racking system can easily grow or change with your business to accommodate your storage and materials handling needs.
Whether it be the need to quickly add pallet spaces, re-arrange the storage flow, or streamline the racking configuration, building flexibility into your storage system will allow you to remain in your existing warehouse for many years to come.
Why is scalability important?
Warehouse operations is a vital part of your business and an ineffective space can cause congestion with goods receiving and order picking. The ability to adjust the size of your warehouse infrastructure allows you to keep up with the growth or streamlining of your product flow. As the market or your business strategy changes, you can re-optimise your storage system to suit.
How to increase the scalability of your business
Building scalability into your warehouse takes forethought. It pays to engage your storage systems supplier as early as possible to assist with planning and analysis. An experienced industrial storage provider can even help with your warehouse selection.
With the right team of industrial storage experts, your storage system will be designed around your business needs rather than having to adapt your business to fit your storage space.
For more information email
[Please use the images as you see fit. I’ll give you captions if needed.]

Next generation warehouse solutions

QHDC has launched a safer and smarter warehouse solution for picking and packing with the introduction of Dane Technologies products in Australia. 
Given the size, quantity and weight of much of the goods moved in the logistics industry, it is not surprising to learn that many workers are exposed to a series of risks to their health and wellbeing.
The transport, postal and warehousing industry is responsible for the second highest rate of work-related injury in the country and according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 76 per 1,000 employees sustain an injury or illness annually while on the job.
The Konekt Market Report analysed more than 113,000 cases of workers compensation and non-compensable cases over a six-year period and found that lower back pain is the second-greatest contributor of disability in Australia. The report also revealed that the average service cost for an injured transport worker is $1,319.
The National Transport and Logistics Industry Health and Wellbeing Study, by Monash University found that musculoskeletal conditions were the most common condition in all of the logistics and transport worker respondents surveyed. This accounts for 60.2 per cent of all claims in the logistics and transport sector, compared with 54 per cent in all other sectors.
Safe and smart
QHDC, an Australian supplier of castors, wheels and materials handling equipment and accessories, saw that there was room for improvement in the current offering of safe, ergonomic and easy-to-use fulfilment solutions for the warehouse and decided to bring a globally leading solution to the Australian market.
Dane Technologies, established in 1996, is an American provider of automated ergonomic solutions for, among others, the logistics industry. QHDC is bringing their smart solutions for the logistics industry to Australia with the introduction of the Smart:Rack, Smart:Drive, M3 Series and PowerPal CM.
“Our background is in shopping trolleys and we have worked with Dane Technologies in automating and improving this area. We had great confidence in the product offerings they have in this space and have decided to diversify into the logistics sphere,” Roy Mann, National & International Sales Manager at QHDC, says.
The Smart:Rack and Smart:Drive work together as part of the Smart:System. The Smart:Drive is the first of its kind – a multi-use, low profile power drive system. Designed to tuck under and securely hitch with carts and trolleys.
Engineered for e-commerce order fulfilment and warehouse management, it seamlessly integrates into existing systems used by warehouses, distribution centres, retail stores and fulfilment locations.
“This new smart solution is particularly helpful when needing to take product long distances down an aisle in a warehouse. There is a platform attached to the smart drive which allows you ride alongside the product, reducing the physical strain or the worker,” Roy says.
It has been designed for any warehouse worker to efficiently move up to 200kg. Having the option to either walk alongside the product, or ride behind it on a platform gives the employee flexibility depending on what their required use is, Roy says.
“The Smart:Drive really bridges the gap between manual processes and full automation, leading to efficient and safer picking and packing,” Roy adds.
The Smart:Drive also features a remote control so that workers can walk alongside the load. According to Roy, being able to ride behind or alongside decreases the risk of fatigue and injury. “Having the capability to move a 200kg load but not have to put a physical strain on the worker has increased productivity, reduced risk and reduced operational costs,” he says.
The product has been designed for those in the logistics industry to move product quicker and with less effort ­– leading to less accidents and risk to workers.
In addition to the Smart:System offering, QHDC will also be bringing a new heavy duty solution from Dane Technologies to the Australian logistics and materials handling market.
The PowerPal CM offers a solution designed to eliminate risks associated with industrial material handling it can safely move up to 9,070kg. With a variety of hitching options, the trolley is easy to use and intuitive, Roy says.
It also boasts added safety features with automatic dynamic braking, automatic parking brake and ergonomic throttle and operation.
According to Roy, the 10-year life cycle of one PowerPal is less than the average compensation cost for a single strain-related injury.
All of the Dane Technology offerings can be used for a variety of products and the powerful motor and increased load capacity of the PowerPal makes it ideal for heavier duty uses such as in airports or manufacturing.
In addition, QHDC will also offer the QuicKART M3 Series, which is the world’s most popular trolley retrieval solution. According to Roy, the M3 Series offers great value. “The M3 Series has over 200 hours of operating time and the most dependable trolley retrieval system. This offers a great return on investment,” he says.
The M3 Series is 20 per cent more powerful than its competitive solutions and is ergonomically designed to increase productivity and capacity, it can push or pull up to 30 trolleys safely and efficiently.
With a focus on safety and the prevention of work-related injuries, QHDC is excited to bring these smart solutions to the Australian logistics market. “We have a lot of confidence in this product and are looking forward to working with the logistics industry to improve safety and efficiency,” Roy says.
The Dane Technologies product range will be available in Australia from January 2019 and the team at QHDC will be able to service and maintain any of the products locally.
“We have educated and trained staff in house who can provide servicing and maintenance throughout Australia as well as keep a wide range of spare parts for this range,” Roy says.

Unlikely hero

Logistics & Materials Handling caught up with Anthony Jones, CEO, LINX Cargo Care Group, to find out why we need to be thankful for the work that the logistics industry does to make the silly season happen.

Read more

World-class facility

VISA Global Logistics has opened a new warehouse in Melbourne’s East to better serve its customers and enhance its national footprint. Logistics & Materials Handling caught up with Tony Baxter, National Warehouse Manager, to find out more.
VISA Global Logistics is Australia’s largest privately-owned, international freight forwarding company and the nation’s third largest wharf cartage carrier.
Operating since 1982, VISA owns and operates 53 offices all over the world.
Proud of its ability to offer a complete end-to-end service, VISA has opened a new warehouse facility in Lyndhurst in Melbourne’s east. The largest of its kind in Victoria, VISA has been working on the strategy behind this new facility for 18 months.
“This new warehouse is part of our growth strategy. We are enhancing our footprint in Melbourne’s East so that we can offer a better service to our customers,” Tony Baxter, National Warehouse Manager, says.
VISA provides services inclusive of global freight forwarding, customs clearance, 3PL warehousing and transport and distribution. “We know that speed to market is so important to our customers, so we have strategically picked Melbourne East for our new warehouse. The Lyndhurst facility allows us to offer a wharf-to-warehouse-to-customer service.”
The warehouse gives VISA’s customers coverage of Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs. It offers a direct pick up from the Port to Melbourne’s East and avoids traffic, Tony says.
The warehouse is also close to rail head services in the east and according to Tony it offers a true multi-modal experience. “We took one of the first sites here because we know it will become an industrial hub and will be central to serving Melbourne’s needs.”
In addition to the benefits realised from the location of the warehouse, the new facility also offers customers a significant upgrade in terms of data and real-time information. “We know that our customers want visibility and transparency so we have upgraded from a legacy warehouse management system to a Tier 1 system,” Tony says.
The new site will deploy Manhattan’s warehouse management system which uses advanced, proprietary algorithms to mathematically organise and optimise logistics operations. According to Tony, this cutting-edge technology will give customers greater visibility and accurate real-time transactional data.
“There is an increased customer demand for live and valid accurate data, especially in the FMCG sector. This new system gives our customers a dashboard of their KPI’s and access to relevant useful information in a user-friendly platform.”
For the transport management side of things, VISA has created its own tool ­– OneTrack. The system is a freight management platform that VISA has developed and built in-house. “It is intuitive and user-friendly and gives our customers live track and trace, proof of delivery details and access to see their products in the container from source to destination,” Tony says.
At VISA security and safety is taken very seriously and the warehouse features the highest level of security, giving access only via fingerprint scanning.
The warehouse will feature semi-automatic material handling equipment and Very Narrow Aisle racking. According to Tony, this allows for enhanced consolidated storage which offers a good utilisation of floor space.
This has great benefits for the customer as they can palletise and position their freight aisle by aisle, enabling them to pick and pack quicker and put stock away faster as a result of the automated line guidance system.
The facility is also fully bonded, has reefer and fumigation capability and space for 8,000 pallets. “Customers are starting to fill the warehouse already, some have taken advantage of the ability to consolidate their stock and others wanted to move closer to the port. At only 40km away and close proximity to major road network, the Lyndhurst facility offers reliable delivery times.”
With over 20 years in the industry, Tony believes that VISA’s point of difference is that they are truly a solutions-based logistics provider. “Many proclaim to offer their customers a solution-based service, but VISA’s flat structure allows us to work together as an entire business to find the right solution for the customer. We work in unison to find the best solution for the customer overall,” Tony says.
VISA’s extensive global network ensures that they deliver a comprehensive logistics system for all of their customers, the new warehouse in Melbourne’s east gives customers more reliable delivery times and exceptional customer service and efficiency from Australia’s largest privately-owned logistics business.

The changing face of logistics in the Australian automotive sector

While Australia’s car manufacturing industry has closed after more than a century, other opportunities are opening in the sector for design and logistics.
In recent years, we have seen the closure of Toyota, General Motors Holden, Ford and Mitsubishi’s manufacturing plants. Since reports first surfaced of the planned closures back in 2013, many analysts have tried to quantify the subsequent fallout.
For the majority, there can be no glossing over the negative impact that the closures will have on the Australian economy. A report by the University of Adelaide estimates the industry collapse has put up to 200,000 jobs at risk across the nation and taken $29bn out of Australia’s GDP annually.
Global management consulting firm, Boston Consulting Group, now ranks Australia the worst performer among 25 nations assessed in its worldwide manufacturing cost-competitiveness index. Costs are higher than in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland and Australian manufacturing wages rose 48% in the past decade while productivity fell, it said.
The good news, however, is that Australia is reviving its automotive sector and making major contributions to the economy. For example, Toyota, Holden and Ford have all said they recognise the excellence of Australian vehicle designers and engineers. Ford has retained its production development centre and testing facility after it ceased manufacturing in 2016 and Holden has hinted that it will retain its global design studio.
In addition, the closure of automotive manufacturing has resulted in an investment in warehousing and distribution centres. For example, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi have launched a shared warehousing and logistics operation in Australia realising synergies to be replicated and expanded across the world.
The new Alliance National Parts Distribution Centre is one of Australia’s largest automotive logistics facilities and managed by CEVA Logistics. At over 37,000 square metres in area, it will use industry-leading technologies and processes for the fast and efficient movement of automotive parts and accessories. “This is a milestone development and a future test case for their global operations,” said Adam Duncan, CEVA’s General Manager Sales – Contract Logistics.
Stow Australia is proud to have designed and installed the major component of the warehouse; the racking, conveyor and mezzanine floor solution. The mezzanine floor has 3 tiers and provides approximately 70,000 storage locations for automotive parts and accessories. A further 29,940 pallet locations were installed as part of the racking component.
Another investment example in warehousing is the new ‘state of the art’ headquarters and parts warehouse for truck market leader, Isuzu Australia. Stow Australia was successful in winning the competitive tender to design, manufacture and install the multi-functional racking and storage facility for Isuzu, following the completion of a successful Brisbane-based warehouse racking project for Isuzu in 2013/14. The storage solution includes more than 5000 pallet spaces for high bay, oversize and cab racking and more than 20,000 bin locations over two tiers.
According to Isuzu Australia Limited’s Chief Operating Officer Phil Taylor, the new facilities will equip the market leader for years to come. “The state-of-the-art facilities will perfectly reflect our operations in the future – as Isuzu aims to continue improving on 29 consecutive years of market leadership.”
Despite concerns amongst the general public, the automotive industry is still very much alive in Australian logistics.
At Stow Australia, we provide industry-specific products and solutions. This includes high quality European designed and manufactured steel selective racking to bear heavy loads, multi-level mezzanine storage areas for small parts, variable sized racking for odd-shaped stock and deep lane storage for automotive parts that don’t always need to be accessible. Every Automotive custom-designed solution is created with the customer to ensure it is highly efficient and fit for purpose.
Are you searching for the most efficient automotive warehouse storage solution? Talk to the experts. For more information about our products and services, visit the Stow website or call on 1800 438 786.

10 talent trends for 2019 – from MHD magazine

Nick Deligiannis

Balancing automation with human workers, the impact of chatbots on an employment brand and a widening talent mismatch are among the trends that will shape the recruitment market in 2019.
Organisations in Australia want to position for growth in 2019. With demand and supply issues intensifying, they’ll need to up the talent ante to achieve growth while striking the right balance between technological integration and human skills.
Our ten top talent trends for 2019 are:

  1. The integration of the ‘human’ factor within successful automation deployment

‘Could a robot do my job?’ This was a common question asked in 2018, but with employers now focused on the optimal balance between human workers and robotic automation the question for 2019 becomes: ‘How will automation be integrated into my role?’ As Elon Musk admitted in 2018 on Twitter in response to delays in manufacturing Tesla’s Model 3 sedan, “Excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake… Humans are underrated.” Organisations are learning from such mistakes and, in 2019, will look for the most effective, ethical and value-adding amalgamation of automation and staff beyond simply the most productive.

  1. Taking employees on the AI change management journey

Once the decision is made to introduce robotic automation or artificial intelligence to drive operational efficiency, organisations will need to engage their employees within a robust and considered change management plan to mitigate risk of implication on morale. It’s important that this is done in a way that alleviates the perceived threat that many workers see such technology posing to their livelihood. Part of this involves talking about the rationale behind it, and explaining how it can help individuals perform their job and potentially develop their career through learning new skills.

  1. The retention benefit of digital upskilling to be realised

With major brands such as Walmart already investing in the digital upskilling of their staff, expect constant learning to become mainstream in 2019. Whilst upskilling existing staff provides an organisation with a pipeline of employees who can fill current skill gaps, an arguably greater benefit comes in the form of an employee benefit that staff actually want to receive and will stay for. According to our 2018-19 Hays Salary Guide, 59% of Australian workers want a job offering ongoing learning and development opportunities. This is behind only flexible work practices and career progression.

  1. Big data gets bigger

Big data is no longer the exclusive domain of big business, with technological barriers falling away as more and more off-the-shelf data management tools close the gap with enterprise level organisations. Organisations of all sizes will be able to rely on big data for business insights. In 2019 the focus will be on recruiting talent who can capture more information from an increasing number of data points, such as the Internet of Things (a market that will double by 2021) and previously unused dark data, but, crucially, also derive actionable insights from that data. We also expect to see greater regulation surrounding data protection and privacy, which will impact the skills employers require.

“Once the decision is made to introduce robotic automation or artificial intelligence to drive operational efficiency, organisations will need to engage their employees within a robust and considered change management plan.”

  1. The lure of chatbots, the potential impact on an employer brand

The use of conversational artificial intelligence within the recruitment process will rise in 2019, but organisations will need to assess and address the potential impact on an employer brand. The technology now exists for an organisation to use advanced chatbots to offer personalised responses to initial candidate telephone enquiries and common queries based on set rules and algorithms. While the automation of such conversations can free hiring managers to focus on non-routine job tasks, organisations will need to consider its impact on their employer brand – and if the caller should be informed that they’re not talking to a person.

  1. Diversifying diversity

The business benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce and workplace are becoming more widely understood, but various surveys show that in 2019 organisations will want to accelerate the pace of change to achieve genuine results in this area. The focus will also shift to diversifying diversity, or in other words, to widening terms of reference to cover more demographics, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, people living with disclosed disabilities, people who identify as LGBTIQ+, and mature-age.

  1. Failure to offer flexibility creates an attraction and retention drawback

Few professionals work 9-5 anymore, but the concept of set hours every day was heavily under the spotlight in 2018. An Irish study of 1,000 workers found 32 per cent would accept a longer workday for a shorter working week. Meanwhile, a New Zealand financial firm, Perpetual Guardian, allowed workers to work a four-day week following a trial that found it improved productivity and reduced stress. With more employees considering flexibility – of hours or place – the norm, any organisation that doesn’t review its flexible working policies will face an attraction and retention shortcoming in 2019.

  1. Beware the talent mismatch

Australia’s talent mismatch, between the skills jobseekers possess and those employers want, will expand even further after growing for the past five years. Despite an existing pool of labour, in 2019 employers will find it harder to hire people with the expertise they need, particularly in high-skill industries and for roles that require highly skilled professionals, such as IT, engineering, financial services and professional services. This will lead to employers exploring a wider range of talent attraction and retention strategies in 2019.

“Given increased technological change and the fast-paced nature of today’s world of work, employers look for candidates who can think strategically to leverage new technologies, trends and opportunities.”

  1. Focus on specialisation and strategic thinking

Employers will focus on expanding their teams with deep expertise and wide perspectives. Given increased technological change and the fast-paced nature of today’s world of work, employers look for candidates who can think strategically to leverage new technologies, trends and opportunities to add greater value and benefit the organisation.

  1. A need for stakeholder engagement skills

Technological disruption will increase the requirement for all departments to possess staff with strong stakeholder engagement and management skills. Organisations will look for staff who, in addition to possessing the necessary technical skills a role requires, can also understand and improve engagement with internal and external stakeholders.
Nick Deligiannis is the managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand. For more information visit

Gamifying the warehouse

For Bondi Labs, its human plus machine rather than human vs machine as they apply 3D simulated virtual reality to improve safety in logistics.
Video games may traditionally be regarded as entertainment, or even child’s play, but a recent study by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association found that at least a third of Australians surveyed have played games in the workplace to gain knowledge.
For Bondi Lab’s Founder and Managing Director, Jonathan Marshall, using games as a platform for developing training tools in the logistics industry will help people to engage, improve and standardise behaviour.
“With gaming, you create a 3D simulated environment whereby you incentivise, measure and track behaviour. What we are essentially recreating is a flight simulator ­– but for the logistics industry,” Jonathan says.
Looking to the aviation industry, Jonathan found a great example in using flight simulation as an efficient way to train people effectively. “The consequences for non-standard performance or capability for a pilot is a plane crash, therefore this is not an option, so they have to train extensively in a fail-safe environment ­– the flight simulator.”
Training by PowerPoint, or a short induction, is not effective, Jonathan says. “If a pilot learnt by PowerPoint, you would never get on the plane. It shouldn’t be different for any industry where safety is important.”
The Chevron Gorgon project
Bondi Labs created its first 3D simulated virtual reality training solution for biosecurity inspection on the largest LNG project in the world.
This project was unique in that it is located on Barrow Island, a Class A Nature Reserve.
“The Island is home to many protected species, because it’s never been exposed to many people. Any invasive pests carried by humans working on the island could potentially wipe out these species. Because of this one of the most stringent biosecurity risk management protocols in the world was put in place,” Jonathan says.
For Chevron, the global energy giant managing the project, the stakes were extremely high. The $70 billion dollar project, which during the construction phase had several flights every day back and forth from Perth and up to 10,000 construction workers on the island at its peak – a major biosecurity breach would be a significant setback.
“If an invasive pest that got onto the island from a piece of machinery, a container or someone’s shoe or clothing was found this could lead to an eradication process which could take several days or more creating significant delays and associated costs potentially in the millions,” he says.
According to Jonathan, this was a significant pain point for Chevron. Even with the best biosecurity inspectors in the world, including those from the Australian and New Zealand government, there were still cases of human error and fallibility.
“But you still need people in the inspection process as they have tremendous natural curiosity, great visual acuity and fine motor skills with incredible dexterity. The challenge is how to get them all to a level of competency which is efficient and standardised, and also be able to provide management with the necessary data so they can be confident the inspectors are performing their inspection tasks effectively.”
The first step was for the team at Bondi Labs to monitor everything that the inspectors were doing. “We spent almost a week at the Perth airport, with go-pro cameras on all the inspectors, and cameras in every corner of the room and basically being anthropologists watching the inspectors’ behaviour,” Jonathan says.
The footage revealed that often inspectors had significantly different approaches to the inspection task which they needed to do. For example, some may inspect the top of the shoe for longer than the bottom though it is the bottom of the shoe where most biosecurity risk material would be found.
To improve core inspection skills and increase performance standardisation, Jonathan and his team worked alongside the Chevron Biosecurity Risk Management team and created an immersive, virtual world where the inspectors could train and be assessed in a fail-safe environment ­– much like flight simulation training for pilots.
“In partnership with the Chevron Biosecurity Risk Management team we essentially built a video game,” Jonathan says. In the game, there were incentives for performing inspections the most effective way. “The objective was to use game play mechanics to incentivise and reward inspectors for performing tasks well and that over time improved and standardised their inspection skills.”
In the game, which can be played on a desktop or tablet, there are virtual objects that the inspectors would find in the real world, and also the pests they will encounter in the real world. “We worked with Chevron’s environmental scientists to put real examples of what the inspectors might come across. With this type of learning it is important that you replicate what happens in the real world to make it relevant and meaningful to the learner.”
The inspector is scored on timing, accuracy and standardisation. According to Jonathan, the result of this incentivising was that after training, there was significant anecdotal evidence that inspection tasks were becoming more standardised. “This is a really nice translation of what you learn in a simulated environment coming out in the real world.”

Virtual reality for logistics
After working in the biosecurity sphere, Jonathan’s team recognised that any industry that required safety training could benefit from this style of learning, and Bondi Labs moved its focus to logistics and warehouse safety.
Bondi Labs adapted its original biosecurity simulation training and built a range of new virtual environments including a virtual warehouse, sea port and supply base, whereby for example warehouse workers can now be trained to spot safety hazards.
“We had originally created virtual environments for biosecurity pest control, but what about searching for safety hazards? For example, on a forklift you might have had an invasive bug hidden under the gas tank, but now it is a crack on the gas tank that could be a safety issue.”
Learning from the productive experience collaborating with Chevron’s Biosecurity experts to develop training that is genuinely effective – Bondi Labs partnered with global industry logistics company DB Schenker to co-design their cloud based, WHS simulation training product Kuube, specifically for the logistics and warehouse industries.

Over the past five years Bondi Labs has developed a sophisticated online platform design built specifically for simulation training as well as creating an extensive library of hundreds of virtual assets. These virtual assets can be re-used and re-purposed to develop simulation training scenarios which address key WHS competency needs such as forklift and material handling equipment pre-start safety checks ­– a known safety issue in the logistics industry.
With scalability a crucial requirement for both DB Schenker and Chevron, Kuube was designed to work on standard office desktops through to iPads and even VR devices.
Jonathan again uses the example of pilots ­­– stating that they need to spend a set number of hours per month in a flight simulator to ensure their task performance standards remain high. He compares this to a warehouse worker or forklift driver who currently might only have an online induction and refresher course once a year and perhaps the occasional tool-box discussion. But that’s not enough if you genuinely want to improve workplace safety standards, Jonathan says.
“By creating an engaging ‘learning by doing’ user experience you can genuinely develop and assess individual employee WHS competencies. Safety training should never be just a tick and flick exercise which unfortunately so often is the case in the logistics industry,” he says.
Jonathan and his team are excited about what this new way of training could mean for safety in the logistics industry, saying there are upwards of half a million people working in the sector who are faced with potentially serious safety risks every day as well as the public.
“Our goal is to work with those businesses who take workplace safety seriously and want to do the right thing by their employees but also ensure they are compliant from a regulatory standpoint’ Jonathan says.
Bondi Labs is entering into a strategic partnership with the Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA), to offer their 3D simulation training product Kuube to SCLAA’s 8000+ members and together start driving serious change in workplace safety awareness and competency especially within the context of the new CoR compliance requirements for the logistics industry.
Preparing for the future
For Bondi Labs, this kind of technology is designed to ensure people work smarter and more productively as opposed to a growing trend to focus purely on automating roles.
“We want to use advanced people centric technology such as 3D simulation and virtual reality to enhance upskill the workforce and improve competencies. We think this style of technology-based ‘learning by doing’ has so many leverage effects including attracting younger people to this industry and even for sales and marketing purposes,” he says.
“Games are cool and if we can take this kind of training technology into schools and show students that logistics is at the cutting edge of emerging technologies then we can help discredit the stigma that logistics is a dull and uninteresting industry to work in,” he says.
Though as the industry develops and automation becomes more prevalent, Jonathan believes this kind of training and learning will be key to upskilling the logistics workforce on how to work with new new technology and hardware.
“Again, it’s not about human versus machine. For us it’s human plus machine. When you invest in enhancing human decision making and increasing employee competencies there is no limit to what people can do.”

Xero for the logistics industry

When Vincent Fletcher and Nic Comrie went to market for a warehouse management system for their logistics business, they couldn’t find a suitable solution ­– so they made their own.
Xero, a New Zealand-based software company, has revolutionised the accounting sector with its cloud-based accounting software solution for small and medium-sized businesses.
Established in 2006 by Rod Drury after recognising that traditional desktop accounting software had become outdated, Xero is now one of the top 20 companies on the New Zealand Stock Exchange and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Xero uses the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and is sold by subscription, based on the type and number of company entities managed by the subscriber – this makes the solution more accessible for small- to medium-sized businesses.
The business now has offices in New Zealand, Australia, the US and the UK and services customers in more than 180 countries.
Influenced by the success of and philosophy of Xero, Queensland-based Vincent Fletcher and Nic Comrie saw a similar gap in the market for small to medium-sized businesses operating in the logistics sector for warehouse and transport management systems.
In July 2012, Vincent and Nic took over a cold-storage logistics company. In the first few weeks of taking over, they realised that the business was not as healthy as they first thought.
“There were a lot of inefficiencies, we couldn’t believe how manual everything was,” Vincent says. What surprised him was the cost of delays in invoicing, paper proof of deliveries being lost, high administration and operation costs, along with the manual processing of everything.
“We thought there had to be a better way, so we started to look for software to speed and smarten things up, but after looking around we couldn’t find anything that was cloud-based or small-business orientated,” he says.
What Vincent found is that most transport and/or warehouse management systems are geared towards a larger logistics businesses. Many of these enterprise systems, apart from being expensive up-front, are based on old, desktop-style computing and had no mobile applications or ease of automation, he says.
“One of our key drivers in all of this was to be able to automate manifests from 50 different clients. We were a small company and couldn’t force them to provide the data in a set format. When we began looking at what software could handle this kind of problem, we quickly realised nothing existed, and we would have to build our own software,” Vincent says.
Dynamic duo
With Vincent’s expertise in software development and Nic’s in logistics, the two of them set out to develop the kind of software they knew they needed.
“We constructed what became CartonCloud for our own business and it completely turned the business around,” Vincent says. After nine months of running the software in their own logistics business, Vincent and Nic managed to reduce their administration staff down from three full time staff members to one part-time staff member.
They also managed to cut their warehouse staff by two thirds, even though they were picking and packing more orders than before.
“We found that a lot of our warehouse staff time was being spent dealing with customer queries. A client may call up and want to place an order for some of their stock. The staff would then have to manually check the floor, or look at a spreadsheet in order to provide an indication of how much stock they had left. What usually followed was a question about where the rest of the stock had gone and so on. It could take ten minutes to check on a client’s order ­– that’s crazy,” Vincent says.
Once they were able to implement a system that would automate this process and provide real time information for both the 3PL and the client, the phone stopped ringing.
“We just thought all this was so time-consuming, why not automate it and have a system that they client can look into themselves to get answers in real time. Once we realised this, we turned the whole business around,” he says.
Even cases of a client calling up to find out if deliveries had been made were eliminated as they could log in themselves and see.
From 3PL to tech start-up
At the end of 2014, Vincent and Nic were starting to get enquiries from other refrigeration companies, who shared the same pains and frustrations, which caused them to look at how they could sell the software to other businesses.
“By the middle of 2015 we had sold the logistics business and we concentrated on selling this software full time,” Vincent says.
Today, over six million jobs have been processed through CartonCloud, servicing businesses in Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Singapore, Fiji and Samoa.
For Vincent, a big differentiator of the CartonCloud offering was that it was designed to work with mobile phones and that it can be used by the clients of the 3PL.
“Usually with this kind of software, what the 3PL’s client can see or do is very limited. However we knew that having this feature would be what would save the time and money for businesses like ours,” Vincent says.
Making customers self-serving, cutting out the need to call and make individual queries saves in administration staff and time that could be spent working on the core function of the business.
By creating a cloud-based solution, smaller logistics companies can have access to the solution. This was an idea that came from Xero. “They were one of the first companies that made people realise that cloud software could be so powerful. Xero came and flipped the whole industry around. We knew we had to similarly make our system cloud-based,” Vincent says.
Clients are charged a per week fee based on the number of warehouse orders and transport jobs they do.
“Some of our larger clients have about 100 trucks but some have three or four, and in warehousing we have some clients who do five orders a week and others who do close to 10,000,” he says.
According to Vincent, many smaller size logistics businesses are not serviced well by the current offerings available in transport and warehouse management systems.
“A lot of businesses we work with have either never implemented a system, or moved to one in the past but they may have found it too restrictive or too hard to use,” Vincent says. In some cases, clients have spent over $80 thousand on an enterprise platform to then find that they just can’t figure out how to use it.
Vincent says this is largely to do with the fact that they are not “experienced system administrators”. A common issue, for example, is when someone miss-picks an order, they have to jump through hoops in order to correct it. But with the inspiration of Xero, CartonCloud has made a system whereby users have the ability to roll-back orders and make corrections easily.
“Traditionally with these systems you would be locked in with the point of no return, but CartonCloud allows you go back, recording the history as you go so that everyone can see this has occurred rather than making a solution that only lets you go forward,” Vincent says.
Making the solution as simple as possible was a priority for Vincent and this continues to drive him as CartonCloud grows and develops. “We are continuing to refine the software, trying to work out ways to make it easier and allow people to do what they need to do. We want the software to follow the users thinking and allow them to easily automate aspects of their job ­– giving them the ability to carry out their role more effectively.”
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The winning formula

Linde Material Handling’s enduring partnership with Australia’s Winning Group is based on shared values.
The Winning Group is one of Australia’s business success stories, transforming itself from a carriage and saddlery trade business in 1906 to an online and bricks and mortar powerhouse.
Its Winning Appliances, Appliances Online, Winning Services and Home Clearance businesses have been on a strong growth trajectory over the last decade, prompting a decision to create a new national distribution centre in Sydney.
Chief executive John Winning, a fourth generation member of this ultra- successful family business, particularly values the partnership with Linde because it was initiated in his time.
He sees Linde and Winning Group’s shared commitment to comprehensive customer focus as being a key enabler of their partnership.

Partnering for growth
“In recent years with the success of our Appliances Online business we’ve experienced year-on-year growth in excess of 100 per cent,” John Winning explained. “We need partners who can understand that growth and support it with the products and services that they give to us.”
Mick Bunt, General Manager of Winning Services, including its state-of-the-art 24,000 square metre Rosehill distribution centre in Sydney, agrees.
“When we went out to tender for the distribution centre material handling equipment we had some of our staff go out to Linde customers and try their equipment,” he said.
“We had a quite specific need for our narrow aisle turret trucks. Rather than have a fork blade we needed a clamp attachment which is how we move a lot of products around the warehouse. Using Linde to design a specific solution for our application was paramount and they were absolutely brilliant with the turret truck clamp attachment model.
High availability 
“We have 11 counterbalance units here, as well as two high reaches and two turret trucks. Our turrets would be operating at 15 or 16 hours a day. They use a fast charge system that allows them to be in action all over the 24 hour shift. They are absolutely super-efficient and tick off any availability concerns that we had.
“Being a wire guidance machine the Linde turret truck is certainly a lot safer than having a guided rail. They are a lot more efficient and our team feels a lot more comfortable than when we historically had team members on platform pickers. It wasn’t great for the equipment and it certainly wasn’t great for them
“What Linde has been able to do for us is pretty much reduce all the manual handling for all the big and bulky items throughout our whole operation, which from a safety perspective is absolutely brilliant. Being a 24/7 operation, when we go into any partnership the after-sales service is super important. We know with Linde their 24/7 call centre allows us every opportunity to call in a breakdown or an issue with one of the machines. Winning Group is not just looking for best price. We’re looking for value naturally, but also for service, safety and after sales support. For me, I think Linde exceeds anyone else in the market.”
John Winning said. “I’m very proud to say that Linde also shares the same values as the Winning Group – safety, reliability and efficiency as well as customer service and I’m very proud of our relationship and partnership with Linde Material Handling and look forward to using their product into the future.”
Multi-faceted support
Linde’s strength and experience as a solution provider enabled it to assist Winning Group on a far more comprehensive basis than provision of material handling equipment.
The company had already experienced Linde commitment on a smaller scale in its previous warehouse where Linde Material Handling had demonstrated the quality of its equipment and support.
STRATOS warehouse planning and simulation software developed by Linde added a quantum boost to help the high achieving Australian family company develop its current distribution centre.
In fact, Winning Group achieved its distribution centre goals, together with a 50 per cent productivity boost, made possible by textbook planning and implementation processes suggested by Linde’s STRATOS solution.
State-of-the-art trucks to suit all
Using VNA turret trucks with carton clamps to take advantage of the height of a tall building to store a large SKU profile in a significantly smaller footprint than would otherwise be the case had not been done in Australia. After evaluating tenders from alternative suppliers Winning Group took delivery of Linde equipment on long term lease, including E20-335 battery electric counterbalance forklift trucks with carton clamps, a R16HD – 1120 reach truck and two K Series turret trucks with carton clamps. The trucks are fitted with the Linde Power Solutions Fast Charge Battery System, allowing them to cope with heavy multi-shift usage.

A DC for efficiency – from MHD magazine

Vivin Imports is one of Australia’s largest furniture wholesalers supplying major furniture retailers and independents. With recent growth in residential home construction and renovations, Vivin has experienced increased demand for its products across the country.
To accommodate this business growth, the company had to elevate its logistics capability to retain and build on its competitive advantage. The distribution centre was identified as a crucial contributor to supply chain efficiency and effectiveness. The Vivin management felt a critical change was required and committed to a new purpose-built 23,300m² distribution centre.
The next step was to decide how this distribution centre should be fitted out.
Vivin knew that it had capacity constraints in the existing warehouse, and adding to the complication was the regulatory compliance for fire safety coverage, particularly for foam products and mattresses. The new warehouse required a storage fitout to accommodate oversized products and ensure appropriate safety compliance.
The initial layout
Dexion Solutions was invited to put forward a proposal for the new distribution centre based on an existing pallet racking configuration supplied. This consisted of standard selective pallet racking with 2,600mm clear entry bays arranged to 3,420mm aisles throughout the warehouse. Half of this layout was to be fitted with in-rack fire sprinklers.
Experience has shown that this was an industry that adopted a ‘default’ layout, where there was no in-depth operational qualification of client operations undertaken. Based on the understanding that not all products have the same dimensional characteristics and demand profile, it is questionable why many businesses accept this ‘uniform’ arrangement.
It could be that there is a lack of understanding of warehouse operations among many suppliers. This results in them often taking a lowest ‘cost-only’ approach, which drives the design to what is often seen – a ‘default selective rack layout’. Likewise, many clients have a very good understanding of the price and product specifications, but not the value of the total fitout. That’s because this value can be difficult to explain in sufficient detail by those selling the equipment and as a result, both supplier and customer often agree on a ‘default’ layout.
To demonstrate the limitations of this default layout, the supplied 2D drawing was turned it into a 3D render. This gave Vivin a better perspective and understanding of the system with which they would end up, and also allowed the supplier team to highlight any potential shortfalls of the design.
Dexion Solutions go the extra mile to fully analyse the space and develop 3D renders where appropriate to ensure the customer has a thorough understanding of what can be achieved – adding so much more value and insight to the project. This additional stage in planning can also be recognised in ROI well into the future.
Developing a complete system
The team requested design-relevant data, which included a snapshot of inventory, transaction table and the item master. This was then backed up with operational site observation and development of a process logic to support the design. The purpose of this study was to retain what was being done well, as well as engineer out any existing limitations, risks and difficulties where possible.
This is what was found:

  • Standard 2,600mm clear entry bays did not provide optimised storage density for the range of products, so the design was altered to include a calculated combination of 2,600mm and 3,850mm clear entry bays.
  • To account for product overhang and a 100mm longitudinal flue in accordance with fire engineering and AS 4084:2012, this directed the design towards the specification of customised double entry frame depths of 2,106mm and 2,303mm respectively. The basic design only had a single double entry 2,106mm arrangement, which would have restricted the storage of oversized products like sofas.
  • Finally, no elevations were provided in the original design so these had to be calculated. Twelve (12) differing elevations were designed to accommodate the 100mm transverse flue space as per criteria specified in FM8-9.

Now that the storage profiles had been determined, it was time to develop a fully optimised warehouse layout. The storage system had to accommodate non-standard product sizes, all the while balancing productivity with storage.
To achieve this, the layout developed by Dexion Solutions comprised of 1,500 bays of selective Speedlock racking, with different frame depths and bay widths to accommodate variations in product dimensions.

Aisle widths
The original default design had 3,420mm aisles rack to rack, but was this adequate? Let’s consider how the space will be used.
2,100mm width pallets are put away and retrieved at ground level and at height. While the aisles are certainly wider than the pallet, the space doesn’t consider the materials handling equipment that will be used to manoeuvre the pallets. As shown in the diagram, the resulting sweep arc of a forklift turning towards the racking is not considered in the conforming design.
Adhering to a 3,420mm aisle would have resulted in a 343mm aisle width deficit! Aisle widths had to be increased to 3,850mm for operational viability, which was independently verified by the MHE provider. With larger aisle widths, the rack orientation was required to change from North to South to East to West due to the building column grid.
This flagged a significant change to the initial layout and it marked a fundamental change from being a storage-centric design to one that was operationally focused.
In-rack fire sprinklers
The initial layout directed that half the site be fitted with in-rack sprinklers. For this qualification, Dexion Solutions used inventory data and item master lookups to identify all the items that needed additional fire coverage. A line-by-line slotting calculation was applied. This was not as easy task!
From this exercise, it was determined that just over a quarter of the site required in-rack sprinkler coverage, quite a difference from half the site. This area allocation also accounted for likely and predicted storage variations. With a reduced area for in-rack sprinkler coverage, a significant cost saving was instantly realised. Combined with all the previous qualifications, this verification just added another layer to the optimised layout that could not be ignored.
Furniture repair zones
To complete the design, a concept of operations was developed, with staging areas and furniture repair zones laid out. The material flow was calculated along with the operational task sequences. This ensured that both the physical and logical designs were complementary to each other.
Warehouse management system integration
The system logic threads that were recommended could be applied to the warehouse management system (WMS) for configuration to achieve balanced task flows. The pertinent points about the operational sequences were the inclusion of batch and discrete order picking based on order profile waving, pick and drop locations for intermediary task staging, and task interleaving. With both the physical and logical designs undertaken in tandem rather than in isolation, a verifiable, auditable and clearly specified result was planned and achieved.
Labels and end-of-aisle signs
The design of the warehouse location map and the subsequent location labelling specification can be crucial to a project’s success. For Vivin, the Dexion Solutions team used 3,850mm beam lengths, which were mapped out and labelled for three locations per bay instead of the average of two locations across a shorter beam length. This will allow for the storage of one OR two non-standard product sizes whilst also allowing for flexibility to use each level for up to three standard pallets.
The labels are made of polyester with a long-term adhesive, making them ultra-durable and resistant to liquids. A unique feature of these labels is that they can be removed and relocated without tearing, offering even further flexibility for the customer.
End-of-aisle signs were also installed as an identification tool to clearly define the aisles amongst the racking bays.
Safety and compliance
Bay profiles were configured to conform with FM Global Fire Engineering transverse flue requirements. 100mm longitudinal flue space maintained between products for oversized products to conform with fire regulations (FM global requirement) and AS 4084: 2012.

“The material flow was calculated along with the operational task sequences.”

To further enhance the safety of the warehouse, Dexion Solutions also provided the following:

  1. Rack protection

The warehouse storage fitout was further enhanced with rack protection, including specially designed baseplates with heavy duty fixings, front and rear deflection guards, and upright protection. All upright protection used is in safety yellow, as this stands out most prominently against the racking creating a much safer warehouse environment.

  1. Safe working load signs

Safe working load signs were installed for each bay of racking. This ensures the storage systems does not get overloaded by warehouse operators, and meets Australian Safety Standards.

  1. Traffic management plan and line markings

A traffic management plan is crucial to creating optimal traffic flow throughout the warehouse and to minimising any risk of collisions. As part of a good traffic management plan, line markings can effectively segregate pedestrian and materials handling equipment, reducing the potential for accident or injury and ultimately improving overall workplace safety.
The design concentrated on the principle of balancing productivity with storage. All the work done was qualified by analysis, observation and logic, all of which are fundamental in any system design. The client’s interests were always in the equation and Dexion Solutions provided a value proposition, not just materials. This is added value that will be realised every day, year on year.
“The Dexion Solutions team really stood out from the start with their knowledge and comprehensive approach to storage systems, said Vivin Imports national logistics manager Mark Redman.
“Not willing to settle for the standard approach, James Hardy and the Dexion Solutions team analysed our operational data and business goals to completely optimise the warehouse space.
“The team was great to work with and through this experience we have gained insights that will be used to enhance our day-to-day warehouse functions. We’re confident this warehouse fitout will provide the business with a competitive advantage well into the future.”
For more information contact or visit You can also view a video of this project here:

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