SA’s largest online store, Takealot.com, has expanded its Johannesburg-based warehouse and distribution centre (DC), to enable it to store almost four million items and scale to roughly 10 000 boxes leaving the warehouse every hour.
Launched in June 2011, the shopping site has rapidly evolved over the years, opening warehouses throughout the country, expanding its selection to over 21 departments, creating a third-party sellers’ marketplace, and most recently, adding pickup points across the country.
As the company prepares for what it calls the “biggest Black Friday yet”, it has strengthened its DC visibility and tracking technologies, to enable it to ship one order every second.
The company has also increased its Johannesburg DC staff to around 750, while up-scaling its contact centre agents from 380 to over 700.
The local online retailer, which has over 1.8 million customers, has three large warehouses, based in Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg, and has several branches throughout the country, which handle orders for Takealot.com and its sister company, online fashion storeSuperbalist.com.
Kim Reid, Takealot CEO, told the media during a tour of the warehouse yesterday that the expansion is a culmination of months of tech and operational business-wide focus, to prepare for increased predicted traffic and shopper volumes on Black Friday and beyond.
“After expanding our Johannesburg DC, our warehouse storage space now stands at 75 000m2. We house over 3.7 million items at any given time, and have opened 47 Takealot Pick-up Points in all provinces.
“The Takealot delivery team delivers to more South African homes than any other courier company in the country. On a monthly basis, we carry out over 1.6 million deliveries, with this number expected to increase to over two million during the festive shopping season.”
Around 80% of the ordered items are already available on the warehouse shelves; the rest are ordered and bought from distributors as the orders come in.
Through the recent expansion and upgrade, the orders have been streamlined to ensure a seamless process takes place between the DC’s receiving depot, storage of items on shelves, boxing and packaging, and classifying orders according to their delivery destination.
Conveyor belts are systematically used to track the items and ensure the correct classification of items, before the collection trucks arrive.
More than 4 500 drivers deliver for the Takealot delivery team; a number the company says is growing every month. The Takealot group anticipates they’ll travel over 4 000 000km while delivering orders from Black Friday until 24 December.
Takealot trucks collect the orders and distribute them to the local branches. From the branches, they are either taken to the collection points or delivered direct to the customer.