Future focus: Toshiba's new Australian home
Case Study5 min14 July 2017
A purpose-built facility for Toshiba Australia in western Sydney provides excellent logistics support, but it’s also an environmentally responsible choice.When Toshiba Australia made the decision to move to a new National Distribution Centre with office facilities, it knew the premises had to stand out from the crowd.
“We wanted to look to the future,” says Toshiba Australia Leased Property Manager Ahmad Malas.
“We needed something special. And when I say special I mean we needed something that would allow us to do things differently.”
The company wanted to become known for its future focus.
And at the very top of the list was care for the environment.
“Toshiba has a global commitment to sustainability and assisting in whichever way we can towards the environment, and putting this new state-of-the-art 5 Star Green Star building together was one of the boxes we ticked when moving to the premises,” explains Malas.
“Our previous premises wasn’t a 5 Star Green Star building, and although we made ‘Band-Aid’ fixes to make it more sustainable, sometimes you just need to start from scratch.”
Tight time frame
After a lengthy search, Toshiba settled on the Dexus development called “Quarry” at Pemulwuy (near Greystanes) about 30 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD for its national distribution centre.
They moved to the new location in August 2016 after occupying its previous premises in Sydney’s Homebush for 11 years.
The new 12,500 sq m facility includes 800 sq m of office space with 10,200 sq m of integrated warehouse and 1500 sq m of technical space, including medical-rated rooms for testing X-ray and MRI equipment.
The premises, situated on a 2.4-hectare site, also has a 2000 sq m super canopy for all-weather protection and safety while receiving and dispatching goods.
The building houses several businesses including medical diagnostic imaging equipment, multifunction business machines and printers, notebook and hybrid computers, storage devices, consumables and spare parts. It provides a centre of excellence where equipment is configured, calibrated, distributed, serviced and repaired. Sales and administration teams for each business are based at the facility, and training also takes place under the new roof.
Quarry is in a strategic location for Toshiba Australia’s operations, with easy access to the M4 Motorway and the M7 Interchange, both leading to key business and employment hubs such as Parramatta, Port Botany, Sydney Airport and the Sydney CBD.
But Malas says the decision also came down to the developer. Toshiba was confident Dexus could deliver the facility it wanted, and in the required time frame, which was very tight.
A company relocating its premises would usually schedule the move 24 months in advance, Malas said. Due to delays beyond its control, Toshiba Australia had around half that time.
So there was considerable urgency about the effort to get the new facility up and running. All went according to plan, with the new premises operational 14 months after the heads of agreement was signed in June 2015. Construction started in October 2015, practical completion was reached in July 2016, and the facility was ready for operations the following month.
“Dexus brought in their experts and the process was simplified, and we collaborated throughout,” Malas says.
“They presented us with innovative design features, accommodating us every step of the way, and continue to provide exceptional ‘after completion services’”.
What’s environmentally sustainable about it?
Toshiba has corporate responsibility and sustainability guidelines for its offices around the world, and the Pemulwuy facility was built not only with this in mind, but with the intention of outperforming the guidelines.
Some of the environmental features of the facility contributing to its 5 Star Green Star certification include:
- Intelligent LED sensor (daylight and motion detection) lighting system used outside and inside
- Passive design initiatives for improved natural light, ventilation and indoor air quality
- Double-glazed performance glass in the external office façade, with window shading to suit orientation for operational cost savings
- Harvested rainwater for flushing of toilets with water-efficient fixtures and irrigation
- 100kW solar PV installation
Sustainably sourced materials, and low volatile organic compounds used for internally applied paints and carpets
End of trip facilities for employees who ride bicycles to work
Technological innovationSince Toshiba is a leader in innovation, technology was critical factor in the creation of the new premises. The company wanted to find ways to maximise efficiency and performance.
The facility is being used as something of a Toshiba showcase, making use of Toshiba equipment such as air conditioning systems, computers, printers and display units.
Automation, too, is an integral part of the facility.
One of the most impressive examples is a product storage, replenish and pick device supplied by Dematic. This Automated Stock Retrieval System (ASRS) eliminates the inefficiencies of having employees search for items and check them before dispatch. It also complements carton and pallet live storage.
“It’s an unbelievable piece of technology that simplifies the job of our guys dramatically, reduces labour and occupancy costs, and ensures we get our product out to the end user a lot faster,” Malas says.
While the focus of Toshiba Australia’s move wasn’t just about cost, the building has created measurable efficiencies. One way costs have been cut is that the facility can now be used as a training base, rather than staff having to travel overseas to become familiar with Toshiba’s products.
When new products come in from Japan, Malas explains, including million-dollar medical products, the Toshiba engineers and technicians in Australia must learn everything about it – how to use it, repair it, configure it, and all the bits and pieces in between.
“Our engineers and technicians previously had to go to the US or Japan to learn how to configure machines, and now we can do that here, which saves time and money,” Malas explains. “We can also bring staff from other countries in to use our facilities if required and provide on-site customer demonstrations.”
As with any modern company, attracting and retaining staff is important to Toshiba, and so, in designing the new facility, the company’s Australian management consulted staff to deliver more of what they wanted in a safe environment, with workplace wellbeing being another important factor.
Some of the amenities provided for employees in the new Pemulwuy premises include a recreational area with a digital television and facilities such as large outdoor breakout areas.
It was about providing little things to make their day a bit easier and more enjoyable, says Malas, and areas where they can sit down and get some time away from work.
Provision for expansionAny business needs the ability to expand, and the Pemulwuy premises allows for the take-up of extra space if required by Toshiba Australia.
Only one level of the office component is currently in use, but the design incorporates a two-level office façade that would provide another 2,300 sq m of office space, if needed, without disrupting day-to-day operations.
“It’s there as available space, and when we need it we can exercise the option to utilise the space. Having this option means we have future-proofed our office space needs at a minimal cost,” Malas says.