19 October 2018   

5 min read
With third-party logistics (3PL) providers driving much of the demand for industrial warehousing and distribution centres, we spoke to Geoff Lord, managing director of Austpac about the growing need for sophisticated and well-located space. As a fast-growing player in the 3PL industry, Austpac is focused on providing cost and operating efficiencies in the supply chain and Geoff shares his thoughts on how working with Stockland’s Workplace & Logistics team ensures his business has room to scale up and his company’s products are whizzed around the country on time and cost effectively.
1. Can you tell me a little about Austpac’s business?

Austpac operates as a 3PL service provider, our major client – Officeworks - has been the company’s core business for almost 25 years.


2. What was the need that led Austpac to look for new space?

Over the years, the continued growth in the business of our major clients has necessitated having to become more innovative in the use of available space and look for new space to accommodate the growth in the business. Our growth has been driven more by the growth our clients have experienced rather than us growing the business by increasing the number of clients.


3. Why did you choose Stockland for your warehousing needs?

At the time we were considering relocation, Stockland had a suitable facility available that met the requirements of our operations and the location was good. The management at Stockland worked with us to help make that transition seamless.


4. Austpac initially leased 22,000 sqm in Sydney and then leased additional space in Sydney and Melbourne. What led to the growing need for warehouse space?

Basically, the growth in the business of our client, Officeworks. The need for more warehousing space to accommodate this growth has driven the requirement for more space in both Sydney and Melbourne. This has been made easier particularly at Yennora, where Stockland has been able to meet our growing demands for space within the Yennora Distribution Centre.


5. What particular operational requirements does the space respond to?

Our location at the Yennora Distribution Centre responds well to our operational requirements — an effective rail link from the port to Yennora provides a cost effective and efficient means for receiving import containers. Effective transport planning within the estate facilitates efficient receiving and dispatching of goods.


6. How has the space allowed you to do business better and deliver better service for your customers?

Because our business is seasonal, working with Stockland to provide the flexibility we need with our space requirements has enabled us to better service our customers and meet the demands of the business.


7. The logistics industry is changing fast. What trends are you witnessing and how are they impacting on your business?

Our sector of the logistics industry is very much driven by the demands of retailing. Retailing responds to demands of consumers. We respond to the demands of the retailers — it’s that simple. Changes in delivery timeframes has been the most significant.


8. What are the key opportunities in your sector in the next few years?

A lot has been talked about e-commerce and online shopping and it’s growing impact in Australia. Having seen a significant growth in this sector over the past three years, this trend will continue. I believe retailing will always be a fundamental part of the consumer psyche in Australia. The growth we have witnessed in recent years in our sector suggests, at least in certain sectors, there is strong growth being forecast over the next few years. Retailers who can compete in both sectors of the market probably have the best model for growth.


9. What are some of the key disruptors in the industry?

The key disruptors in our sector of the industry have been the drive for more efficient and effective picking, packing and dispatch of goods. In recent decades, we’ve seen manual order picking give way to RF and paperless picking as an industry standard to unmanned fully automated warehouses. The internet and e-commerce have had the most significant impact in recent years. Our business today is as much about moving information as it is about moving product. Demands for upstream supply chain solutions will drive changes internationally. The rate of change is increasing at an increasing rate. Who knows what the future holds – innovation v/s disruption is the ongoing question.


10. What does the future of the freight and supply chain look like?

I think the future of the supply chain industry is very good for those companies willing and able to meet the increasing demands and adapt to the technological changes demanded by the industry. The industry is constantly changing to meet the growing demands of the consumer market as we’ve seen with e-commerce.