Toll innovates with next-gen e-commerce distribution hub

Monday, 05 February, 2018

Toll innovates with next-gen e-commerce distribution hub

Toll Group has officially opened a new, next-generation distribution centre in western Sydney to help retailers deliver for their customers faster and more efficiently.

The opening event was attended by The Hon. Melinda Pavey MP, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight; John Mullen, Chairman, Toll Group; and Alex Linton, General Manager Logistics, Specialty Fashion Group, where a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place to officially open the new facility.

The $160 million retail and e-commerce fulfilment centre is specially designed to support the growth of online shopping in Australia. Toll’s new centre:

  • is set across 32,000 m2
  • incorporates 15,600 m2 of automation equipment
  • is capable of picking, processing and packing 375,000 items per day
  • shortens delivery times from days to hours.

Minster for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said she was excited to open the new facility, which will provide a great service to Australian and international consumers.

“Staying competitive in a rapidly changing global market requires vision, determination and an appetite for change, and that’s what Toll’s new facility will provide,” said Pavey.

Toll Global Logistics President Chris Pearce said today’s market is placing aggressive demands on retailers to provide fast fulfilment and delivery, without increasing costs.

“Toll’s investment in the new facility is helping our customers adapt to the new retail environment,” said Pearce. “The facility is equipped with $50 million in advanced automation technology so retailers can deliver their e-commerce orders faster and in a much more economical way.”

The facility will be one of the country’s most advanced e-commerce fulfilment centres, transforming the way retail orders are picked, processed, sorted and delivered to customers.

The facility has:

  • a smart and fully system-integrated warehouse control system that allows Toll to prioritise, optimise and sequence customer orders
  • automated guided vehicles (AGVs) that shuttle pallets
  • a multi-shuttle tote and storage system that provides fast, automated and sequenced storage and retrieval of product which can store 1,350,000 storage totes
  • high-speed, ergonomic good-to-person pick stations
  • automated satchel packing stations that free up time for workers to perform other value-added services
  • carton optimising equipment that automatically minimises cartons based on the most appropriate size for the product.

“Retailers will benefit from the ability to deliver goods to their stores and direct to customers faster and more efficiently,” added Pearce. “And shoppers will enjoy flexible order times and faster processing so they can receive their purchases within hours not days.

“This advanced automation technology will increase our productivity fivefold — capable of picking, processing and packing 70 million items per year.”

The facility was constructed in collaboration with apparel retailer Specialty Fashion Group (SFG), Toll’s anchor tenant at the new site. Toll and SFG worked closely to design the facility with scalability and future growth in mind.

“At Specialty Fashion Group, we’re constantly looking to improve the omnichannel experience for our customers, which includes offering faster and more convenient delivery options for online and ‘click-and-collect’ orders,” said SFG General Manager Logistics Alex Linton.

“We have a highly specialised supply chain, so we needed a customised solution that would meet our ongoing needs as a retailer. We’ve worked with Toll to develop the site — from the initial design and development through to build, operation and delivery — and we’re excited to see the state-of-the-art capability in action,” he said.

The facility operates as a shared, multiuser facility, with capacity to support additional retailers and their supply chain operations. It offers complete omnichannel capability to help retailers adapt to the changing needs of their customers in an ever-competitive sector.

The combined Prestons site will provide jobs for around 200 operations workers, technicians and engineers, providing a boost to the local western Sydney economy.

The new facility achieves safety and environmental initiatives such as reducing the probability of safety incidents through a 70% reduction in manual handling. The facility also has a four-star NABERS rating, is fully LED lit, uses rainwater harvesting and has a carton recycling machine.

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