New focus changes Repco distribution system.
Tenure of close to 25 years has meant Repco Distribution has seen a lot of changes in the way the company distributes merchandise.
Repco Distribution is currently in the throes of rolling out a new national distribution strategy creating two super warehouses in Adelaide and Brisbane and downsizing the DCs in the other states.
There are two types of orders Repco Distribution supply its network. The high volume stock replenishment orders are automatically generated to replenish stock sold by the stores.
These are generally large palletised orders supplied once or twice a week, depending on the size and sales volume of the store. Then Repco Distribution has an express order service used to fill customer requirements for items not carried by the store.
These orders are picked in waves during the day with a typical turnaround time of 45 minutes. These are generally smaller cartonised orders, shipped on one of the three scheduled express delivery runs it has in place, to service the metro stores, and overnight to country stores.
The focus is on continuing to optimise warehouse management, and strictly controlling inventories.
The Adelaide DC replenishes all Repco stores in SA, WA, NT, Vic, Tas and country NSW. The Brisbane DC replenishes all Qld and Sydney stores.
With an aggressive business plan announced during the company float, the number of product lines in stores will rise from 12,000 to 14,000, and the number of items in the DCs will grow from 54,000 to 57,000. One of the areas earmarked, as a point of cost-saving was distribution.
Repco Distribution team is working hard to ensure this happens. The aim of the new strategy is to reduce distribution costs while still offering the stores a rapid response service.
According to Repco Distribution, to give some idea of the enormous changes sweeping this important part of the business, back in 1999 there were 23 distribution centres.
The focus is on continuing to optimise warehouse management, and strictly controlling inventories. The company sells to both retail and trade customers through a network of over 400 stores in Australia and New Zealand.
Today 87% of the total sales are from a broad range of automotive parts and accessories, sold through Repco or Checkpoint stores in Australia, and Repco and Appco stores in New Zealand.
Repco Distribution plans to have over 450 stores by 2006, historically each state had their own full service DC supplying both stock replenishment and emergency orders.
Rationalisation of the distribution centres has centred all stock replenishment operations in Adelaide and Brisbane with the smaller fast response DCs in WA, Vic and NSW filling only S.A.
According to Repco Distribution, as a consequence of replenishing interstate stores from SA, it is using more Loscam shippers (collars).
Repco Distribution linehaul the product from SA into Vic, WA, NT and NSW, and the nature of the Loscam product means they offer good space utilisation.
Repco Distribution can double or triple stack them, and they give it a flexibility of stacking height. The same situation applies to the Qld DC
According to Repco Distribution, it found Loscam as a good company to work with, and they had a strong relationship with the local Loscam people.
The nature of the pallet collar product really suits Repco. It has electric pallet runners operating through the non-conveyable areas of the warehouse, and Repco picks directly into the shippers.
They also have dividers so products are not crushed. Repco Distribution also has products coming from its conveyables area, and it has the shippers set up on pallet lifts at the end of the conveyor belts.
Repco packs product into them progressively and build the shipper up as it goes. The new management team at Loscam, was now prepared to purchase new equipment, which was part of the Repco Distribution agreement.
Loscam used to be part of the Pacific Dunlop group, as Repco were.
Repco Distribution uses Loscam’s HMS, as pallet accounting can be messy. Repco Distribution has found the company pretty easy to get along with and hoping the next step is scanning the pallets instead of counting them. That would be a great step forward.