A new $125 million distribution centre in Adelaide's northern suburbs marks the beginning of SA supermarket Drakes' independence from The Metcash Group.
Drakes, now 100 per cent independent and South Australian owned, has built the distribution centre in Edinburgh North.
The centre is three times the size of the MCG or 40 Olympic sized swimming pools and utilises $15 million worth of robotics and houses 23,000 separate lines of products.
The Edinburgh North facility joins Drakes' fresh fruit and veg distribution centre in Pooraka and their meat distribution centre in Beverley.
Roger Drake, managing director of Drakes Supermarkets, says the new centre is part of the business' self-supply model.
"Our aim is to save the average South Australian family around $20 per week at the check-out which equates to over $1,000 per year, by just having direct relationships with our suppliers and cutting out the middle-man," says Roger.
"We are a South Australian, family owned and operated business who has taken the leap to go out on our own, take on the big corporations and provide our customers the biggest range of products for the best possible prices."
The centre will employ a further 140 full-time staff and will provide advanced training to all the employees, which general manager of Drakes Supermarkets Bob Soang says is important for the health of the business and the SA economy.
"It is really important to us to continue to innovate as a business and provide opportunities and training for our existing staff and future local employees," says Soang.
"We want to stimulate the SA economy by keeping it local and looking out for the interest of everyday families and customers in our state, something we don't think is really being done currently."
Drakes describes its robotic system at the new distribution centre as one of a kind and first of its type in production. It is able to pick 1,000 individual products per hour which will automate the repetitive, labour intensive pick and pack process.
The facility will also include a fully equipped gym for all employees to use and all meals will be catered for in an onsite kitchen, including free lunches.
The loss of Drakes from the Metcash Group is expected to cost the company around $270 million in sales and $16 million in earnings.
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