Rectron has completed the second phase of its move back to Rectron House, its historical and original premises at 15th Road, Midrand.
This second phase has seen its frontline operations, including the dispatch, credits, service, RMA, and technical divisions, following Rectron's sales, accounts and marketing division – which relocated earlier this year – in moving from the previous premises at New Road, Midrand.
The two-phase move has not been about a simple relocation, however. It forms part of a massive renovation project stretching over eight months and valued at more than R30-million, with Rectron creating a substantial new infrastructure to support its efforts to be leaner and meaner than ever before – and in ideal shape to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the current market conditions and economic downturn, says Dean Prinsloo, MD of Rectron.
At the heart of the matter is that the New Road premises were simply too big to cater for Rectron's evolving and fast-moving needs; most of products Rectron distributes from leading brand names such as Intel, TomTom, Microsoft, Toshiba, Gigabyte, Logitech, Panasonic, Sony, Epson, Samsung, and LG have become more mobile, smaller and much lighter.
"With everything getting smaller, and mobility on the increase, we found ourselves with a lot of space in the long-term storage warehouse," adds Prinsloo, who says Rectron found that it wasting more than 60% of the space in its massive New Road warehouse.
"Embedded in our culture is the drive to constantly re-invent the wheel; to change and modify our systems, to better our service, to be more efficient and to change before we have to change," he explains.
"Midway through 2007, Rectron CEO Mark Lu, called a meeting with top management, and the decision was made to move back to 15th Road. With the current market conditions and economic downturn, it was the perfect decision at the perfect time."
To this end, the 15th Road building was extensively overhauled, upgraded from 6 000 square metres to 12 000 square metres, and innovative new technologies were implemented. One involves the full automation of the company's long-term storage facility, which is now powered by a R15-million Toyota robotics-based system, one of the fastest in the world. Seven cranes – each capable of moving at an incredible three metres per second – have been installed, requiring only nine operators.
"There will be two different levels that can be used to scan orders directly from the facility and then despatched via our conveyer belt system," says Prinsloo.
The new conveyor belt system has seen the company reducing its Express ordering system from the already remarkable five minutes down to three minutes. In other words, Rectron guarantees that from the minute an order is placed, to where the order is in dispatch, will only take three minutes.
"Our customers have grown accustomed to our Express ordering system, as they need to be in and out of dispatch as soon as possible," adds Prinsloo. "More time for them will be spent on the road selling, rather than standing in queues waiting for stock. Our customers have praised us in the past for this system."
Prinsloo is adamant that the renovations and new infrastructure will only benefit Rectron and its customers.
"We can now look forward with the right infrastructure in place to take the market by storm," he said. "We definitely made the right decisions at the right time. Change is part of our lives here at Rectron, whether it is us trying to change and better ourselves or our technology that changes. Nothing changes except change itself."