OfficeMax officially opened their new premises in Manukau’s Highbrook Business Park last December. As a member of the Sustainable Business Network, a forum for businesses that are interested in sustainable development practices, one of OfficeMax’s key focuses is the conservation, protection and enhancement of the environment.
The new premises cover 19,500sqm and bring together the staff from two distribution centres and three offices, which were previously spread over three locations around Auckland. According to Medlands Metropolis and New Zealand Green Building Council, the facility at Highbrook has been built to a high environmental standard using the framework of the New Zealand Green Building Council’s ‘office design’ green star tool for an unofficial evaluation.
Medlands Metropolis and New Zealand Green Building Council note that the Office Max building achieves 58 points on the rating system, equivalent to a four green star rating. A major achievement has been a 50% reduction in energy consumption through maximising the use of natural light and by utilising an efficient air conditioning system. Long narrow offices that run the length of the building’s glass exterior maximise the natural light available and a large central atrium provides natural light to the interior offices. The distribution centre’s roof light panels are aligned with the pallet racks to maximise natural light, and electric lights have been fitted with an autodimming system that adjusts in response to natural light changes. In addition, the lighting in some areas is activated by movement of detection sensors.
Advanced technology has been employed to share heating and cooling energy around the building through a variable refrigerant three-pipe heat-recovery system. Heat rejected from zones in cooling mode can be reclaimed through the piped refrigerant gases for heating of zones in other areas of the building. The distribution centre is ventilated through a combination of natural and fan-forced ventilation, ensuring minimum power usage and good flows of natural air.
Technically advanced plumbing fixtures and fittings have been installed in the washrooms to save water consumption. An exhaust system in each utility zone ensures copier fumes (which can contain selenium and ink volatiles) are removed directly from the building rather than recycled through the air conditioning system. A large rubbish recycling area has been provided in each zone to ensure waste office paper and plastics can easily be accessed by cleaners and waste management companies for responsible disposal.
Old chairs were reupholstered with New Zealand wool, which is biodegradable. Everyone’s desktop in their workstations is made from a low formaldehyde-emitting MDF from the Laminex Green First range. Mobiles under their desks are made from recycled steel and are fully recyclable.
According to OfficeMax, Dematic assisted them with the internal warehouse design and the subsequent fitout of the materials handling equipment. Their solution includes pallet racking for the storage of pallets and large items in the bulk stock areas, plus binning (shelving), carton-live and pallet-live storage for the storage and picking of split case and full case items. A full-zone routing conveyor system transports cartons/orders to the respective zones. A vertical carousel, with storage for 3000 SKUs, has been integrated into this system, along with invoicing zones, two automatic carton sealers, and a sortation system for the dispatch zone. There is also a secure area for dangerous goods, a specially constructed cupboard for flammable goods, and a caged area for items deemed of high value.
Dematic’s PickDIRECTOR software assists OfficeMax’s warehouse management system with order fulfilment, and all zone operators (other than those picking the special student ‘back to school’ pack orders) are equipped with voice picking headsets. OfficeMax use a range of carton sizes and their ERP system has been pre-programmed with the cubic dimensions of every SKU, and a carton size is allocated as per the optimal size of each order. Individual orders can vary from packets of pencils to pallets of photocopy papers.
There is also a nifty machine that creates concertinaed rigid paper ‘sausages’ for protection of products and packing around small orders within a carton. OfficeMax selected Crown to supply the entire fleet of materials handling equipment. The fleet of 17 consists of reach trucks, pallet pickers and Crown’s speciality, the Wave (work-assist vehicle).
Inwards and outwards goods areas are delineated. All hardstand areas are under cover, and a one-way system operates around the distribution centre for inwards and outwards delivery trucks.