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South Island automotive businesses are set to benefit with the opening of a new state of the art regional distribution centre by battery manufacturer Century Yuasa.

Century Yuasa Batteries has more than doubled down on its commitment and confidence in Christchurch with the opening of a centre four times bigger than the previous facility.

Century Yuasa General Manager of Operations Matthieu Anquetil (pictured) said the company had been operating in Christchurch since 1990 with only four staff: the new centre not only employs 14 people but will support operations in Nelson and Dunedin.

“This has been a long time coming,” Mr Anquetil said. “We have experienced 30 percent growth in the last few years and our job, as operational professionals, is to support this growth by ensuring we bring world class distribution to please, retain and gain customers.

“Globally the coronavirus outbreak in China is affecting the import and export trade with retailers and suppliers concerned consumers will soon start experiencing shortages of products ranging from iPhones to batteries. This centre is one way the South Island can remain insulated as we are now carrying more stock than ever before possible.

“The region’s geography and geology create vulnerability and also presents many challenges which this new centre will help alleviate. The biggest problem is the weather between the North and South Islands has often prevented ships from operating.

“In 2019 there were 55 non sailing days. If you combine that with the limited opportunities to sail – more often than not there is only a ‘once a week service’ and if our goods get bumped, then the delays continue to compound, and weeks accumulate.

“The CYB objective is to improve the service level to our customers by providing an increased guarantee of stock availability and quality, and reactivity to the local needs.

“We now have the ability to receive containers from the North Island and from overseas directly, along with servicing the whole South Island and supporting our other two branches.

“Overall, it takes two to three weeks to bring stock from Auckland to South Island (1000km). In comparison, it takes nine days to bring stock from Brisbane to Perth (4500km) and two days maximum from Brisbane to Sydney (1000km).

“We will now be able to significantly reduce our freight lead times. For example, incoming stock from Auckland to Dunedin would previously take 15 days, but now we will be able to transport overnight from Christchurch and similarly to Nelson.

“We are now also in a position to bring professional logistics support (FIFO management, safety, compliance, inventory control, etc) with dedicated resources.”

CYB has also grown its Motive Power market in the last 23 years, with three staff supporting this business, which is reporting year on year growth.

Glenn Baker

Professional writer/editor with 35-plus years experience - including radio copywriting, various television writing/production roles, and writing for business magazines. I have also co-owned a wholesale food distribution business.

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