Coles’ giant automated distribution centre (ADC) in Ipswich, the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, will service 219 Coles supermarkets in Queensland and NSW, as far north as Port Douglas and as far south as Laurieton in NSW.
Due to be officially opened today by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Coles Group chairman James Graham and Coles Group CEO Steven Cain, the state-of-the-art Redbank facility can process up to four million cases per week, the equivalent of 32 million units sold in stores. Over the course of a year, this is around 1.6 billion sales units.
The facility can hold the full range of over 18,000 ambient products. Queensland and Northern NSW supermarkets will no longer be reliant on a large number of products being transported from Sydney to Brisbane, so holding the full range of products within the state of Queensland will drive better availability for customers, said Coles.
Chief executive Steven Cain said the ribbon-cutting ceremony is one of the most significant moments since Coles was founded in 1914 and five years in the making.
“Modernising our operations is how we improve efficiency and availability in our stores and deliver higher service levels for our customers, team members and suppliers,” Cain said.
“Our new ADCs can process twice the number of cases and hold twice the number of pallets compared to one of our current DCs. The ADCs enable us to half our current total footprint, leading to a more productive and sustainable business model.
“Over 90 percent of the cases processed in these automated distribution centres will be processed fully by automation or ergonomically which will be a step-change for the safety of our team as it eliminates almost 18 million kilograms of manual handling in the supply chain each week once the ADC is running close to full capacity.”
Coles has invested more than $1 billion in the ADC technology, with a second set to open a second ADC in Kemps Creek, NSW, in 2024.
The Redbank ADC has LED and sensor lighting to reduce energy consumption and is fitted with a 180,000 litres of harvested rainwater storage for toilet flushing and landscape irrigation.
The Redbank site spans 170,000 square metres which is the equivalent size of two Suncorp Stadiums. With a building size of 66,000 square metres, it’s one of the biggest and most productive automated distribution centres in the world.
The High Bay pallet storage area stands 34 metres high, which is almost three times taller than Coles’ current distribution centres.
There are plans for 3.5-megawatt solar installation which will be among the largest rooftop solar solutions in the Coles network. To minimise food waste, the edible food that can’t be sold in the ADC will be donated to Coles community partner SecondBite.