No more human processing.
MYER’S AUTOMATION SHIFT
Myer has taken possession of a new state-of-the-art National Distribution Centre (NDC) – a 40,000 square metre facility in Victoria.
The new warehouse, located in Ravenhall, will hold over 100,000 SKUs, and will consolidate both instore and e-commerce fulfilment into one national distribution centre.
But many of these orders will not be processed by humans in this facility.
The company has announced the NDC will feature more than 200 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and three different AMR technologies (Geek+ RS8 Shuttle, P800s, and Körber’s sortation solution).
The use of the AMRs is aimed at ensuring “faster order processing and delivery timeframes” for customers.
The rollout will include the largest implementation to date of Geek+ RS8 Shuttle System in the Southern hemisphere, as machine learning and AI continues to infiltrate our daily lives.
Myer executive GM of supply chain Tony Carr said the NDC will improve inventory management and delivery management for online orders, while maximising sell-through and reducing future markdowns.
“Having an NDC is incredibly important as it will ensure we can accommodate the growth in our online business, as well as providing the service levels our customers expect and deserve from Myer.”
“It will ensure, through automation, that online purchases are serviced in an even faster and streamlined way.”
Technology at the site will include pedestal sorters to sort product by store and/or carrier for cross dock, store replenishment and online orders. It expected to handle over 70% of online orders once up-and-running.
The design of the NDC includes water harvesting and recycling, LED lighting throughout the warehouse and offices, energy efficient fittings, water saving taps, the use of sustainable materials and more.
Solar will power the NDC’s energy consumption by an estimated 20%.
“Our NDC will fundamentally change our supply chain operations – delivering a faster, more efficient and profitable way to meet the demands of our online business and ensure we maximise the inventory flow to our stores,” Myer CEO John King said.
Myer is currently in the process of fitting out the facility and expects it to be fully operational by March 2023.
ROBOTS HAVE ARRIVED
Myer is the latest company to follow in a shift to automation in key warehouse locations.
Supermarkets have already announced they will be launching new “electronic workforces”, including similar hiring’s of robot workforces for distribution facilities.
Woolworths first announced their intentions to transition to automation in April 2018, revealing a new $215 million fully automated facility that will be “the biggest and most advanced automated distribution centre in the southern hemisphere”.
The company tested their automated distribution warehouse in 2019, after completion of the facility in September 2018.
Soon after, Woolworths released a promotional video to demonstrate the extent of processes achievable in an automated setting, including multi-storey racking systems, robotic high-speed conveyor and sorting systems:
Coles also struck a deal with British online supermarket group Ocado to run its website and distribution warehouses by 2023, which will double home-delivery capacity.
Negotiations included plans to launch a new website and build two highly automated “fulfilment centres” in Melbourne and Sydney, replacing five existing distribution outlets.
Ocado was founded in 2000 by three former Goldman Sachs bankers and now has a 20 per cent share of the multi-billion dollar online grocery market.
This shift is only set to increase in the future, with Australian supermarkets predicted to become “checkout free” within 10 years, according to a Coles executive.
Online retail giant Amazon has also built one of the largest warehouses in Australia in its latest efforts to expand its operations in the country. It is roughly the size of Taronga Zoo.
The 200,000 square metre robotics fulfilment centre has began in 2020 Kemps Creek in Sydney’s west, close to the under-construction Western Sydney airport.
As you can see, Myer is not alone in their ‘innovations’.
And this has hurt long-standing human workers in many of these industries.
Woolworths, for example, announced it will close three warehouses with a total of 1,350 staff in Minchinbury and Yennora in Sydney, and Mulgrave in Melbourne. All three centres will be closed in 2025.
Where is the transitional support for these workers?
Of course, the timing of this monumental shift just happens to coincide with the aimed completion of the Agenda 2030 plan, smart cities, digital tracking and identification, a cashless society and the introduction of the Internet of Things (5G, AI, etc.).
The Fourth Industrial Revolution will see an upheaval in working practices across the world.
These are the beginning stages of this shift.
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