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Drakes integrating data analytics into state-of-the-art warehouse

South Australian grocery retailer Drakes Supermarkets has partnered with technology partner Infor to integrate data analytics into its upcoming state-of-the-art warehouse facility in Adelaide.

The system will deliver optimisation throughout Drakes’ retail business, as well as its upcoming wholesaling venture, allowing it to take greater control of its supply chain by providing users with accurate and readily-available data regarding stock.

“Drakes are embarking on one of the most exciting and significant ventures in Australian retail –taking control of their own destiny, building a wholesale business and becoming one of the most technologically advanced retailers in the country,” Infor Retail ANZ vice president Brett Egglestone said.

Drakes chief financial officer Scott Lintern noted the retailer is well on its way to launching the wholesale warehouse in the middle of 2019, which will support the ongoing expansion of the business.

According to KPMG partner of customer, brands and marketing advisory Lisa Bora, most warehouse operations are broadly looking at revisions to its supply chain structure in a similar way to Drakes.

“Advanced analytics are now critical, automation is now critical, there’s a growth in dark stores as warehousing,” Bora told Inside Retail.

“There’s definitely a lot [of] data in tracking stock levels, picking, packing, making sure you’re taking advantage of robotics for manual labor and being a smart operation.”

KPMG national leader of consumer and retail Trent Duvall notes he expects to continue to see human intervention in areas such as fresh food, though most other categories could easily benefit from automation and robotics.

“It’s in the packaged goods where automation is going to be essential,” Duvall said.

Coles announced in late October it had signed an agreement with Witron Australia to develop two new automated distribution centres over the next five years, with analysts having noted the infrastructure upgrade was necessary.

“This [investment] should generate efficiencies, but not until the sites are opened in three to four years,” Citi analyst Bryan Raymond said in a note to investors.

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