After a rigorous tender process, Polar Fresh Cold Chain Services, a joint venture partnership between Swire Cold Storage and Costa Logistics, has been formally unveiled as the preferred operator of the Coles Myer Ltd. (CML) Chilled Distribution Centres (CDCs) in Victoria and Queensland.
As part of the Coles Myer future network strategy, all chilled, frozen and fresh produce will be consolidated into CDCs in each of the eastern seaboard states. Initially, the sites will be established as chiller, freezer and meat CDCs, predominantly operating as pick and pack facilities. However, within a few years, produce will be introduced into the CDCs, and chiller product will be increasingly converted to a flowthrough or stockless process.
Since the announcement in May, the Polar Fresh Implementation Team has been working closely with CML on the Project Services Agreement, which charts the planning, transition and implementation into the retailer’s future CDCs.
The new CDCs
Each CDC will be constructed from the ground up, and will represent the best in cold chain operations. Each building will be more than 40,000 m2 (more than double the size of the current SCS Lyndhurst (Vic) or Cannon Hill (Qld) Distribution Centres). Once the CDCs are fully commissioned and servicing the full range of commodities (chilled, frozen and fresh produce), the sites will employ over 400 staff and process in excess of 1 million cartons per week. A newly commissioned WMS (Warehouse Management System) will be installed at each of the sites, and will comprise the new advancements in RF (Radio Frequency) technology, which will include voice picking.
Transition and Implementation into the CDCs
The Victorian CDC in Laverton, currently under construction, will become operational by mid 2007. The Queensland site to be built at Parkinson (south of Brisbane), is scheduled for transition from Cannon Hill in mid 2008.
Employment of key Site Management appointments will be made over the coming months. Successful applicants will join the Polar Fresh Implementation Team, and continue to recruit and train the workforce as well as fine tune operational procedures and transition planning.
The Polar Fresh team, who up till now comprised Peter Sheehan, CEO, and Gary Mathieson, Project Manager. Peter and Gary have been well supported by Swire Cold Storage and Costa Logistics experts, including Brian Hecker and Geoff Norman (Produce Operation, Costa Logistics), Stephen Lanham (Chiller/Freezer Operations, SCS), Cliff McKinley (HR, Costa Logistics) and Peter Mason (Finance, SCS).