Coles pushes supply chain modernisation with new DC’s
On 24 January 2019, Coles Group Ltd announced that it has executed definitive contracts with Witron Australia Pty Ltd to develop two new automated distribution centres in Brisbane and Western Sydney. The move follows Woolworths $562 million investment into their new technologically advanced distribution centre in Melbourne.
Witron Australia is a subsidiary of Witron Logistik + Informatik GmbH, a German-based global leader in automation and distribution. Coles says the Witron system will improve product availability and will reduce costs. The new automation will allow stores to order specific products from a wider range, and move from standard pallets to aisle specific pallet. This will improve productivity not only at the distribution centre but at the supermarket level, with staff able to unload deliveries and stack shelves more efficiently.
Over the next five years, Coles is expected to close five existing distribution centres, with Coles confirming that the added automation will result in some job losses.
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”. Mr. Cain stressed the need for automation in the distribution process, emphasising worker safety, business competition and consumer satisfaction.
The Coles supply chain modernisation project has been costed by the company at approximately $950 million over the next six years.