The retail group’s investment in “People First” can be seen in the purpose-built new campus in Midrand.
The design encapsulates the company’s commitment to make a positive difference in people’s lives, including renewable energy, carbon, water & plastic reduction, swift distribution of premium products, and harmonious workspace.
Home to popular brands Cotton On, Typo and Factorie, the retail group has taken its presence in the region further by investing in a R 300 million custom-built new central office and distribution centre in Johannesburg that will further enhance their customer experience. Beyond signifying a commitment to the country, the new premises are an extension of the company’s pledge to Doing Good in all areas of its operations.
Earlier this year, the Cotton On group published The Good Report, detailing sustainability as central to its purpose, making public its commitment to water, plastic and waste reduction, carbon neutrality, ethical sourcing, the use of recycled materials, sustainable packaging, uplifting women, the use of natural materials and more. This ethos was central to the design and construction of the new premises.
Combining grey water harvesting, a 200 kWp solar power plant, LED lighting, proximity sensors to reduce energy usage and an indigenous landscape, the new site was designed to operate with minimal impact to the environment. The company is currently transitioning all plastic polybags to be made with recycled plastic.
Featuring one the fastest supply chains in the world, the 22 000 sqm warehouse is geared to processing 6 000 e-commerce orders per day, 200 000 units to its retail network daily and over 20 million units per year. The centre features Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) storage and a pick mezzanine for unitised picking for store, wholesale and ecommerce orders. Built for growth and scale, an additional 50% of space will cater for future e-commerce processing.
Construction started in January 2021 and, since June 2022, 2,2million units have been moved from the company’s former premises in Pomona to the new site - more than 100 truckloads of stock.
Not only is the new campus kind to the environment and highly efficient logistically, employee wellness, safety and a harmonious work environment have been prioritized. Both the head office and warehouse staff enjoy the same facilities and services with welcoming entrances and chill areas replicated at the two entry points. There is a state-of-the-art gym with personal trainer available, meal delivery services, coffee machines, wi-fi for all, and plants to increase productivity and replenish focus. Staff entry uses a facial recognition system.
Open workspaces at the facility encourage conversation and collaboration. Each of the company’s divisions has their own brand room that represents the core themes of their brand. Break out pods and sitting areas are available for meetings, to take calls or just catch a breather.
“Our products are pretty magical and so is our team. The new bespoke site has been designed to deliver the best possible experience for our customers and to provide our team with a great place to work,” says Natalie Wills, Country Manager for the Cotton On group. “The campus was designed with a ‘People First’ culture approach, which underpins what our brand stands for, puts us in good stead to continue our excellent customer service processes, and is an extension of our commitment to making a positive impact in all areas of our business,” she adds.