Wow! How’s this for putting South Africa up there in the world-class bracket when it comes to optimising logistics services to the healthcare sector.
It all revolves around Imperial Health Sciences need to expand and to do this, the Imperial Logistics group company has embarked on a multi-million Rand investment into a new, state-of-the art warehouse and additional office space at its Centurion head office.
Managing director, Lara Haigh, says the business needed additional capacity following its diversification into the pharmaceutical wholesaling, medical devices and animal health markets.
“As a result of the expansion – which will enable Imperial’s Pharmed pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution business to move into the Centurion facility – clients will reap the benefits of a refined and cost effective ‘over the fence’ supply chain solution,” says Haigh.
Pharmed – which specialises in the wholesale supply and distribution of healthcare related products – will be moving into the new facility in June 2018 and will leverage Imperial’s operational processes, systems and resources. “The move will result in efficiency gains for both business units,” Haigh states.
The expansion project encompasses the construction of a new 41 000m2 warehouse with 30 280 bulk storage positions, 4 550 high risk locations, 1 350 cold storage locations for cold chain products and 4 000 positions for Schedule 6 medicines.
A ‘very narrow aisle’ (VNA) warehouse of 8 500m2 in size will also be added to Imperial Health Sciences’ infrastructure. It will offer 31 000 pallet locations. A new bond store will also be built with 1 500 pallet locations, while fridge capacity will be increased with the addition of 2 000m2 of space providing 2 500 pallet locations. The new storage space will also boast a state-of-the-art high-speed conveyor system suitable for carrying both pallets and cases of product.
In addition to the new warehousing and office block, Imperial’s capacity-building venture also includes increasing the size of all other functional areas at the Centurion operation by between 40 and 60%.
The group’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in the project’s focus on energy efficient design features and water saving initiatives. “Energy efficient elements of the new build include motion sensing and low wattage lighting, the use of solar panels and solar-powered equipment, and a façade design that provides insulation and will optimise the use of natural light in appropriate areas, particularly in the offices. Natural ventilation will be used wherever possible and energy efficient air conditioning will be installed,” says Haigh.
Further green elements of the expansion project include landscaping using indigenous plants as well as water saving initiatives like storm water and grey water harvesting, water meter systems, sensor based electronic taps and hot water on demand. A water recycling system will also be employed.
“Environmental considerations have been kept in mind with every aspect of the building and its functionality. Materials will be locally sourced where possible and all timber purchased will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified,” says Haigh, adding that suppliers that subscribe to the principle of cradle-to-cradle manufacturing will be given preference. This approach strives to create systems that are not only efficient but also essentially waste free.