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Driving efficiency: Massbuild’s new distribution centre

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The Massbuild division has three other brands: Builders Warehouse, Builders Express and Builders Trade Depot.

To own and manage its supply chain and optimise inventory levels that result in improved service levels, the division in 2010 embarked on a centralised warehousing and distribution plan. In its arsenal lies it’s newly unveiled regional distribution centre in Midrand.

With energy efficient technologies such as solar heating and natural light usage, the 35,000m² facility has the ability to expand to 55,000m² and currently services the Gauteng and northern region with local stock. It distributes direct import stock to all Massbuild formats and stores across the country as well as its African stores. The ability to access global giant Walmart’s supply chain, intellectual property and best practice has assisted Massbuild with the project.

“Our senior management team spent some time with Walmart, and we had a representative from Walmart come down here and see how we do things, to add value and see how we can improve … to guide us in doing things better or differently. She’s a seasoned pro, having opened distribution centres all around the world. The beauty of Walmart for us is that it’s just this huge reference library,” Massbuild CE Llewellyn Walters says.

The ability to purchase through Walmart’s global contracts is also giving the company an edge.

“We could never secure the pricing that they assisted us with in buying equipment like forklifts and packaging materials. The Toyoya guys said they’ve never seen pricing like this. That’s what Walmart bring to the party — their global buying power,” Anthony Loose, manager of the Midrand RDC says.

The RDC, which has 31 receiving doors, carries around 20,000 to 24,000 stock-keeping units across 270 to 300 vendors. Like Pick n Pay, Massbuild has deployed warehouse management software SAP EWM for the facility, enabling support for processing goods movement and managing stocks.

Massbuild commercial manager Lyle Brady says Walmart is passionate about logistics.

“They’ll teach you a thing or two about everyday low cost. We thought we were good by changing a configuration on a pallet so that you can save R10, but they’re worried about the cost of the Koki pen they use to write on the ship pallet labels.

“They expose you to a new way of thinking — how many boxes do fit into a truck, how far are your stores away from the DC, what is a similar market to you, how many steps you have to take to fetch something. The intellectually property is immeasurable,” he says.


Extract from Business Day – Business Day
Story courtesy of
Zeenat Moorad (2013)

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