Foodstuffs North Island has opened a new custom-built cross-dock transport depot and warehouse in Whangarei, ensuring a constant supply of groceries to even the most remote parts of Northland.
The new facility has been designed to maximise the efficiency of deliveries to Foodstuffs supermarkets in the Northland region and the brand-new Whangarei cross-dock is responsible for the last part of the journey – for goods coming directly from suppliers, or from Foodstuffs North Island’s distribution centre in Auckland. The site will be shared with Gilmours Northland to service their Northland foodservice customers with deliveries to bars, restaurants and cafes.
“A cross-dock facility is where we unload product from larger, long-distance trucks into smaller ones that are better suited to Northland’s roads and delivering to our more remote stores,” explains Melissa Chapman, Depot Manager for the new site.
“The bigger trucks are great for bringing large amounts of stock up to Northland from Foodstuffs’ main distribution centres or suppliers’ warehouses, but from an efficiency, and environmental perspective it doesn’t make sense for them to do the whole trip out to each store. So our Northland team are responsible for that last part of the distribution process as they’re closer to the community stores.”
Foodstuffs North Island is a cooperative of 350 local grocers who own and operate New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square stores in hundreds of communities around the North Island – including 33 stores across the Northland region.
New Zealand’s northernmost supermarket is the Four Square in Houhora – the last place for tourists to stop for groceries before the 55-minute drive to the tip of the North Island, and a critical supply of groceries for locals in the remote area.
“Having this new and improved cross-dock facility in Whangarei means even stores as far-flung as Four Square Houhora get the same service levels as central Auckland supermarkets,” says Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin. “It also means good service is maintained for the hospitality businesses in the area that are serviced by Gilmours.”
“We’re proud to be investing in Northland and making sure all communities benefit from our integrated supply chain network. Northland matters to us – we have 33 stores servicing customers in the region, and now the new cross-dock to improve supply chain operations.
“Northland is also home to our second social supermarket, Te Hiku Pātaka in Kaitaia, where families in need can receive food support with dignity in a supermarket environment. We also have another social supermarket planned to open in Whangarei at the end of September as part of our commitment to be Here for NZ and our promise to provide all New Zealanders with access to healthy affordable food.”
Keeping foods, particularly chilled and frozen goods, within a specific temperature range throughout the journey from distribution centres to stores has been a key priority for the new development, with larger chillers and freezers with temperature monitors included in the suite of features at the new site.
“It means that when ice cream makes it all the way up to Houhora, it’s still frozen – even in the height of Northland’s unending summers,” says Quin.
The new site is an investment of $10M from Foodstuffs North Island, and has dedicated docks for loading and unloading, which means more trucks can be worked on simultaneously, which in turn means less delays and more time for deliveries. The facility also has the latest in supply chain technology with automatic gates, EV chargers, full electric forklift fleet and laser lights for walkways.
The new site currently employs 20 team members, with Melissa Chapman taking the reins as Depot Manager. At just 25 years old, Chapman is one of Foodstuffs’ younger site managers and is excited to be leading the team at the new facility.
Foodstuffs North Island is planning similar major refurbishments or new buildings for some of their remaining cross-dock facilities in the next year, with a full rebuild for their Hastings depot due later in 2022.