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Press release

Grant Thornton deploys robotics and automation to improve delivery efficiencies at Booktopia

Grant Thornton has joined forces with Australian online bookstore, Booktopia, to create a better experience for its customers and people through the development and deployment of a technologically-advanced Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) featuring a new automated robotics system, located in South Strathfield in Sydney.      

Booktopia is a leader in online book retail in Australia, offering over six million books to purchase from its extensive library with thousands of books in stock at any time across more than 2,000 individual product categories.

In recent years, Booktopia had seen unprecedented growth in demand and had also reached its capacity at its previous sites, using over 1.6km of conveyor belts to move books around at each site in Sydney.

After a review of Booktopia’s supply chain, Grant Thornton recommended a solution including an overhaul of the company’s distribution centres, consolidating two sites into one and designing the new CFC which could leverage the latest in technology and automation and provide capacity for expansion.          

Grant Thornton’s retail management consulting team was brought in to help design, program and monitor the custom-built CFC fitted with autonomous mobile robots from Locus Robotics to work alongside Booktopia’s team to improve product flow and pack books faster and more accurately. Grant Thornton also supported Booktopia in procuring, managing, and sourcing a new warehouse management system, new infrastructure, packaging automation and conveyors. The CFC now has a one-way flow of books from receiving to dispatch, improving productivity and reducing manual handling. The flexible design allows ample space for future growth.

The benefits Grant Thornton’s team delivered to Booktopia included:

  • Developing a solution that matched the business’ needs now and into the future.
  • End to end program management from design, technology selection, RFP process, transition planning, through to implementation and build.
  • Development of multiple build scenarios with supporting business cases.
  • Delivery of the project on time and to budget.
  • A design that is future-proofed so that additional investments can be made in the future to further improve productivity and capacity.
  • Ensuring a scalable solution with robotic technology able to be added or removed in line with peaks and troughs in demand.

Richard Bycroft, Partner – Management Consulting at Grant Thornton said: “We are proud of our work with Booktopia on this project. It was a challenging but rewarding experience that showcased our capabilities in supply chain transformation, technology implementation, and change management. As project managers we believe it’s crucial to roll up our sleeves and we have worked closely with the Booktopia team on the ground to make sure their new distribution centres functionality was properly tested, worked as scoped, had effective material flows designed around it, Standard Operating Procedures written, and team members were thoroughly trained. We are happy to see the early positive signs of the impact of our work on Booktopia’s day-to-day business operations and the benefits that are helping to improve the customer experience. We look forward to continuing our relationship to help Booktopia achieve their future goals.”

David Nenke, CEO at Booktopia, said: “The goal of this project was to bring Booktopia into a new era using the latest in automation and robotics to provide a better experience for our customers and our people. We are grateful for the support and guidance of Grant Thornton throughout this journey. Their retail management consulting team completely understood the importance of aligning the solution and design of our new CFC with our business strategy and customer needs. They have been a great partner for us and have helped us achieve our vision of becoming a world-class online book retailer.”

Booktopia is currently gearing up for a bumper Black Friday and Christmas period with the festive season a traditionally busy time for the company.

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