Cadbury Schweppes finds 20pc in $2m DC overhaul

By: Jason Whittaker


A recent $2 million upgrade to the Melbourne-based Cadbury Schweppes distribution centre has delivered a 20 percent productivity improvement to

A recent $2 million upgrade to the Melbourne-based Cadbury Schweppes distribution centre has delivered a 20 percent productivity improvement to its automatic storage and retrieval crane system.

Distribution operations were fully maintained throughout the three-and-a-half week upgrade to minimise disruption; achieved through Cadbury Schweppes and systems supplier Dematic working closely together during the transition.

The Cadbury Schweppes’ upgrade involved the refurbishing of four automated stacker and retrieval cranes, as well as the upgrading and modernising of the distribution centre’s conveyor and sortation system.

The DC operates alongside the main Australian manufacturing facility in Ringwood, strategically located near Melbourne’s new Eastlink Tollway.

The Ringwood DC stores Cadbury Schweppes ‘bar line’ products manufactured in the adjoining facility, as well as handling the importing, storage and distribution of other products manufactured in company facilities in Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand and Europe.

Cadbury Schweppes’ original DC started operations 13 years ago and was regarded at the time as a state-of-the-art facility.

It now has a total storage capacity of 36,000 pallets, divided between a manual distribution centre using conventional rack and forklifts, an automated distribution facility with four automated stacker and retrieval cranes and multi-tiered order picking modules for full-case picking.

"After 13 years of operation — and although a series of strategic initiatives enabled us to double the throughput in this time — we were aware that the system was dated," the company's National Distribution Manager Mike Ratcliffe says.

"It was apparent that it posed some risk in terms of productivity, reliability and ongoing supportability and yet the role of the DC is integral to the overall business — so we couldn’t shut it down in order to upgrade or refurbish it."

In 2005 Cadbury Schweppes established a project team to fully upgrade warehouse systems and procedures, and to establish a plan with clear milestones and tight timeframes.

It commissioned Dematic to conduct a survey of the operation and to make recommendations on the upgrades required. By late 2005 it had decided to proceed with the upgrade.

For the full story behind Cadbury Schweppes' DC overhaul read the January/February edition of SupplyChain Review, out this week.

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