Inside Shoprite’s giant new distribution centre

The Shoprite Group’s new Cilmor distribution centre in Brackenfell, Cape Town, spans 123 000m² and is described by the group as one of the most technologically advanced distribution centres on the African continent.

It consolidates the activities of five different distribution centres spread throughout Cape Town and provides jobs for about 3 500 people at the facility and a further about 500 people indirectly. The centre consolidates about 500 suppliers and it is anticipated that about 20 000 products will be stored there.

Construction of Cilmor began in February 2016. Its name is derived from farmer Cecil Morgan (Cilmor) who formerly owned the land.

The distribution centre consists of three different sections, namely ambient (operational since August 2017), frozen and chilled (both operational in 2018).

The ambient section includes a “chocolate box” where temperature-sensitive items such as chocolates are stored.

According to Photy Tzellios, general manager of supply chain at Shoprite Checkers, the company looked at various methods all over the world in order to develop Cilmor.

“It is not about four walls and inventory, but about how things are put together,” he told Fin24 during a tour of the facility on Tuesday.

“We looked for solutions for the flow from suppliers to the centre and from the centre to our stores. It is about anticipating what our customers need without the stores having to store stock. It is all about inventory management.”

This means warehouse space is not needed at stores and more stores can be “mushroomed” over a greater area.

Source and images: Supermarket and Retailer

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