Foodstuffs NI Makes a Move

After nearly six decades at its Mt Roskill home, Foodstuffs North Island has moved to a new purpose-built facility in Manukau.  The newly built campus named Foodstuffs Landing Drive is nestled in parkland close to Auckland Airport and is currently New Zealand’s largest Distribution Centre and home to the country’s largest array of rooftop solar panels.

Combining the dry goods distribution, office workspace, events and people development functions onto one single campus for the New Zealand owned co-operative, Foodstuffs Landing Drive has been designed to support Foodstuffs North Island’s aspiration to become one of the most customer driven retailers in the world.

“It’s been key to our plans for three years so it’s really exciting to see our new home come to fruition,” said Chris Quin, CEO Foodstuffs North Island. “Foodstuffs North Island has provided nearly 100 years of service to New Zealanders and absolutely everything about this integrated campus is centred around enabling our teams and partners to put our customers first and do the very best job they can now and in the long-term.  As we saw in 2020, keeping our team and customers safe and products on shelf for New Zealanders is key.”

Surrounded by lush green parkland, the campus environment is designed to be safe, dynamic and sustainable with plenty of spaces that encourage collaboration and flexible ways of working – all aspects which were front of mind when planning the future new home for what’s affectionally known as the “Foodies Family”.

Purpose built for Foodstuffs North Island and leased from Auckland Airport for an initial 30-year tenure Lindsay Rowles, General Manager of Membership and Property, Foodstuffs North Island says, “This location is absolutely perfect for us. With our fresh and chilled & frozen distribution centres close by, excellent transport links to all of Auckland and the Upper North Island, plus plenty of capacity built into the dry goods DC to accommodate future growth, Foodstuffs Landing Drive will make a huge contribution towards us meeting our customer promises and achieving our customer transformation plans.”

The campus took just over 20 months to build and despite the challenges throughout 2020, the buildings were handed over to Foodstuffs North Island for fit-out three months early.  Hawkins built the 5 Green Star (Design & As Built) Support Centre and Macrennie Auckland were responsible for the giant Distribution Centre, which is the size of eight full sized rugby fields, has a circumference of 1.3km - and, if they stood shoulder to shoulder, could fit one third of Auckland’s population inside.

“It was both daunting and exciting to take on this project, as the 13th biggest single roof warehouse in the world, it’s the largest we’ve ever undertaken.  We took a highly collaborative approach to innovating and problem solving with the Auckland Airport and Foodstuffs North Island project teams and this was 100% contributory to the success of the project and enabled us to deliver early.  A particular buzz for the team was lifting 7,000 square metres of structural steel using 16 of the 200 tonne mobile cranes, we just stood there in awe!” said Tim O’Leary DC Project Manager for Macrennie Auckland.

The largest Distribution Centre in New Zealand brings together eight of the Upper North Island’s operations under one roof.  The DC team have welcomed 50 new workmates, with the DC workforce at Foodstuffs Landing Drive now totalling 350 employees.

Equipped with the latest technology, design and safety features and additional capacity for future growth, the DC can hold up to 80,000 pallets and is equipped with the largest bank of semi-automated satellite racking in New Zealand, that holds 14,700 pallets and uses remote controlled pallet shuttles to handle pallets within the racking.  Delivering efficiencies for customers, products will be picked differently to before - by store brand, reducing the distance the product travels in the DC by 40%.

“It’s a beautiful building, full of amenity and a place our people, our co-operative members and our partners can look forward to coming to.  We are 'Foodies' and the building really reflects our passion for food. We believe that meeting and exceeding our customer promises comes from great team engagement and a strong sense of belonging, we’ve built a fabulous new workplace and it’s our people that will make it a home away from home," said General Manager of People & Culture, Wendy Hammonds.

The appointment of Hospitality Manager, Charlie Cai demonstrates Foodstuffs North Island’s commitment to good kai and hosting.  This aspiration starts to play out immediately with a Concierge who warmly welcomes new arrivals.  Cai is also responsible for the Innovation Hub where, in the demonstration kitchen, suppliers will be showcasing their new products - and in-house chefs will have the opportunity to trial new recipes for the team and guests to try.  The Private Label team will be using the fully equipped test kitchen to innovate, evaluate products and carry out technical testing, plus there’s the aptly named Bar 1922, giving a nod to the year Foodstuffs was formed.

“Food brings us all together in the most joyful way and is a huge part of the culture we want to create here.  There are no separate eating spaces, we all eat together and regardless of whether you come here every day to work, are a co-operative member or partner, we want everyone to feel welcome, inspired and nourished by their experience with us here,” said Cai.

Office based teams have ‘home bases’ with the choice of a variety of different workspaces to suit the task.  The desire to work flexibly was already factored into the building design long before the threat of a pandemic had us all working from home said General Manager, People & Culture, Wendy Hammonds, “Our subject matter expert teams spend much of their week consulting in-store and may touch base face to face just once a week, so we don’t need to hold a full-time workspace for everyone. We also wanted to support our teams to work more flexibly, so we set out to build a home that was right sized to facilitate this style of working.  Not coming to the office every day was going to be a cultural change for some and the recent lockdowns have definitely expedited our adoption of a flexible working culture.”

Foodstuffs Landing Drive also has its own Events Centre, a purpose-built flexible space that hosts anywhere from 10 to 300 people for Foodstuffs events, learning and large meetings both physically and virtually.  “We’re a huge whānau with over 300 co-operative members employing over 22,000 people, we regularly get together and whether we’re communicating strategy or learning new skills it’s ultimately about facilitating our transformation into one of most customer driven retailers in the world,” added Hammonds.

For a co-operative that’s approaching 100, it’s no surprise sustainability is woven into every aspect of the campus. 2,915 solar panels, the largest rooftop array in New Zealand, live on the roof of the DC and directly power the Support Centre building, which is on-track to achieve Green 5 Star for its interior fit out, supporting employee wellbeing.   The forklifts and reach trucks in the DC are fully electric and there’s EV chargers in the car park.   Natural light has been built into the architectural design, there’s a rainwater harvesting system and the 750 chairs on the site which, for every chair purchased, a tree is planted in Pamoa Forest in Gisborne.

“As New Zealanders we love this place we call home, one of our promises is we’ll be leaders in sustainability, Foodstuffs Landing Drive is very much a part of that commitment and we’re extremely proud to be calling this place home,” concluded Quin.

Fun Facts About Foodstuffs Landing Drive 

100m               – the length of the Foodstuffs Landing Drive campus

77,500m2        – the total internal area covered by LDDC. That’s about the size of 8 of rugby fields, but it is the largest ambient DC in New Zealand after all!

376                  – the number of working days it took to complete the build

358,366           – hours worked to build our new home

47,000             – number of shrubs and trees at our new home

85%                 ­­percentage of waste recycled from campus construction

100%               – amount of rainwater we’re collecting to flush loos and water plants

2915                – number of solar panels on LDDC’s roof

36                    – EV chargers on site for Support Centre staff

750                  – the number of trees planted in Pamoa Forest in Gisborne to reflect the 750 chairs we purchased for the Support Centre

1.3km              – how long the walk is around the entire campus. Reaching your 10,000 steps/day goal just got easier!

13,000             – the tonnes of concrete which went into the LDDC slab

74,956             – LDDC’s pallet capacity with the largest bank of semi-automated satellite racking in New Zealand

14                    – fully automatic ‘Wulftec’ wrapping stations, streamlining efficiencies to wrap pallets

100%               – the number of our LDDC forklifts and reach trucks that are electric. The 25 Toyota BT reach trucks are fitted with camera and laser technology and reach up to 12 metres high!

1,000               – the number of car parks for staff

2                      – back-up generators to sustain our entire campus in the event of a power outage

40%                 – amount of travel time reduced for PAK’nSAVE and Four Square orders since LDDC is now organised by brand