SOUTH AFRICA – Walmart-owned South African retailer, Massmart, has opened a new distribution centre at Riversands, Johannesburg as part of its centralised network strategy.

It has been custom designed to suit the retail group’s needs and manage the highest volume throughput of all its facilities including its Makro, Builders, Jumbo and Shield brands.

According to reports by Fin24, the 75 000m2 warehouse, which is larger than 10 soccer pitches, is the second of three new facilities in Massmart’s new centralised network which uses shared distribution centres to serve stores across the entire group.

“Over 30% of Massmart stores are based in Gauteng so this facility will give us the opportunity to deliver fast moving products to these stores at greater speed, thanks to the use of full pallets, with no need for re-packing inside the facility,” COO Jonathan Molapo said.

Construction of the unit began in late 2019 following thorough planning and engagement with Walmart regarding optimal designs.

One thing the project team could not have foreseen was the need to fast track the completion of the facility, to keep stores stocked following the events in July 2021.

“I must acknowledge the way our partners on the project, R&L Architects and EDS Engineers and our landlords, Century properties have supported us throughout, and particularly when the timeline was brought forward by 5 months,” Jonathan added.

Sustainability was a top priority for the distribution centre as it makes maximum use of natural light, energy saving LED lights with motion sensors, and uses borehole water for its wash bays and reserve water tanks.

In addition to this, the wetlands next to the DC have been preserved in order to support healthy ecosystem functioning and provide a refuge for resident flora and fauna.

“Every element of this distribution centre is geared towards improving efficiency. From reducing our own energy usage to the operational efficiency of the high volume product focus, Riversands will play an important role in getting the right products onto our shelves at the best possible price for customers,” said Jonathan Molapo.

The retailer shifted to its first product-based distribution center mid-last year in Brackenfell, Cape Town, featuring an eye-catching curved and seamless roof, measuring over 60 000m2.

The DC is customized to suit Massmart’s needs with innovative modular mezzanine racking, allowing for easy expansion of picking areas to accommodate varying stock demand.

With a capacity of 53 000m2, it was a significant upgrade from the previous Airport DC that had a capacity of 19,500 m2.

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