COVID-19 – Shutdown of a Distribution Centre

COVID-19 – Shutdown of a Distribution Centre

Matthew Wragg
SCLAA National Chairman


Someone presents on site, at your Distribution Centre with COVID-19, what do you do?

It’s an interesting question to ask and very valid in Australia today, but it was a question I was just asked on my phone. I wonder what would have been the reaction just 3 months ago, which now seems a lifetime away.

As a risk consultant, I am always looking at the potential fall out for my clients, whether it be financial, cost or even jail time. Staying ahead of the curve is critical in managing your risks and from my perspective only the top 10% of Supply Chain managers do that really well, even if they haven’t achieved their plan, they are still considering and working all of their risks.

There has been mad panic from Corona fall out and we’ve seen toilet paper shortages among other things. If you turn your mind towards third world countries and read up on their anecdotes, you sure will be thankful you live here in Australia, no matter what the madness may seem to be.

But let’s take a moment to step back from the fact that someone may actually present to your workplace with Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

As a principle place of business, you have a duty of care to your workers, full stop. You must do everything in your power to protect them and those who frequent your site as well, whether it be delivery drivers, cleaners, security or any other persons as a PCBU (or persons undertaking a business undertaking). On top of that, we all want to see the back of COVID-19 and we all want to ensure socially that we can make an impact and ensure we do not pass this on as our elderly and vulnerable as they are at significant risk.

So, lets run through the process, one Supply Chain professional to another.

In the UK during the GFC and other Distribution Centres around the world I have worked, I have been involved with the shutdown of Distribution Centre. But they were all planned, whether it be Christmas, Good Friday or other types of shutdowns. Not many Distribution Centres run 24/7, 365 days per year, but they do exist I’m sure. Industries that come to mind are freight forwarding and petroleum for example, even power stations of old would have a supply chain of Coal behind their operation. Centre

But if someone presents with COVID-19, tomorrow morning, that isn’t going to qualify as a planned event and if you must shut down, it certainly would be planned.

If everyone had to walk off site right now, how would you even go about that?

The planning comes from before that moment, when someone presents with COVID-19. It comes now, before someone rocks into work with a dry cough or temperature.

Entry and Exit.

Most large workplaces have multiple entries and exits in place, and the suggestion to use one and not all and ensure that one is used only, is so that you can open others up. A known ‘clean’ area(s) that may be used in case an area in your building is at risk of exposing others. We know COVID-19 will live well on plastic for 12 hours and metal for 24 hours, so the risk of someone touching a space while infected and then an uninfected person touching the same place is very real.

If there is a security station on site which people must pass, please ensure there is a place to wash your hands and ensure that your protocols consider the washing of hands before anyone walks on site. Controlling who and when people come on site is a large factor and will help you answer any questions later down the track if health officials ask questions as to who may have been on site.

Ultimately, one entry and exit point is a great way to ensure that a singular pathway on and offsite is used by everyone.

Personal belongings

Ensure that people do not bring large amounts of personal belongings or anything that may not be left behind. If you do have someone present with COVID-19 on site, you may have to advise others that they cannot enter a space that has been contaminated. That space may hold belongings of others.

Many DCs are security controlled and bags must not enter the DC at any time in those circumstances. I would highly recommend that bags are not brought on site for any reason. Therefore, people on site would not have a reason to go back to their belongings for any reason, should you need to quarantine an area.

Outsourced Logistics

As a CoR professional, I know how important it is to ensure that you do not put drivers at risk, in any circumstance. But a planned shutdown has cut off times pre-planned for those delivering or picking up from site.

So how do you manage this aspect. If you need to shut down your DC at this very moment?

Two main options come to mind immediately. The first is easy and that is to redirect inbound trucks to other points in your greater supply chain to be unloaded. Then send everyone from your infected DC home.

The second is a little more difficult but may be the preferred option in most circumstances. I’d like to write more on this point, but I will simply sow the seed in this instance.

This option would require you to split your workforce into two groups. Group A, along with their resources such as forklifts and reach trucks and Group B with their forklifts and reach trucks as well. If group A has an employee present for work, you can be assured that this will be contained to group A resources and Group B will have access to clean resources.

For a short time, whilst the risk is still present within the workplace, you could potentially shut down group A and allow Group B to work the necessary areas to unload inbound vehicles only, in the areas only associated with Group B.

Whilst it may seem difficult to have almost an apartheid scenario in your DC, it may allow you time to wind your DC down with necessary resources working critical aspects of your Supply Chain, until the storm passes.


This is a critical element. Firstly, soap and disposable hand towels are critical. If you’re relying on hand dryers, I would remove them immediately as they are known to ‘blow’ particles including bacteria around the toilet area when in use. Unless you have HEPA-Filters on your hand dryers, stop using them!

Ensure to close off one toilet block if you can, to allow for the toilet block to be opened if you need to quarantine any other areas. If you’re trying to ensure a clean slate for a period of time, this is critical, to ensure a clean space in case another has been deemed unsafe due to infection. Even better if it is in a different part of your Distribution Centre.


Ensure you always have sufficient security on site, to ensure you can have sufficient crowd control. You want to ensure that people do not go where you do not want them, and you want to ensure that those who come on site are prepared sufficiently before they walk on site and should something go wrong, while they are on site.

You may need to ensure that 100-200 employees are directed offsite in a particular manner at the drop of a hat, so please ensure you consider this in your plans.

Traffic Management

We all have (or should have) traffic management plans in operation. But please get them out and consider where your staff are working on site at any given time, the areas that you may need to use in an evacuation, not to mention areas that you may still need to consider using whilst you wind down your DC.

Response Plan

Once you have considered these elements, it is critical that you brief your teams and ensure you have strict plans in place to wind down your DC. It will take time to wind your DC down potentially, so please ensure you factor in reasonable time frames to do this effectively.

Consider your risks, which are your staff and inbound freight, not to mention your customers, whether they be other DCs, retail outlets or residential. You must notify those which critically must know what is going on to ensure the safety of those around you.

You don’t necessarily have to call out the air raid sirens, keep it brief and to the point.


In closing don’t forget to log anyone who may have been onsite. You will all require testing and the Health Officials may need to speak with you and ask many questions later. Keep your data safe and sound.

Best of luck.
Matt Wragg

Australian Bushfire Recovery – Can You Help?


A Logistics Centre has been established in Taren Point Sydney for the consolidation and dissemination of donated goods to/from Bushfire affected areas. The Centre will operate for 12 months.

SCLAA along with its Freight Taskforce affiliates are assisting with setup and any ongoing requirements. SCLAA Director Sue Tomic met with the co-ordinators of the Centre this morning and a call for initial equipment and services has been received:

Office equipment to fit out 3 offices-

  •  office desks,
  •  office chairs,
  •  anti-static mats,
  •  office storage cabinets,
  •  white boards
  •  1 x meeting table for 8-10 along with chairs

Also required:

  •  a skip bin for general waste disposal.
  •  software providers who can assist with warehouse management software for
    pallet/goods tracking and bar coding solution.

The Centre will begin receiving goods early next week so the above items require delivery by Monday, 24 February. (Office furniture can be picked up if local.)

Well done to SCLAA National Partner, Toyota Materials Handling for donation of equipment and to Linfox for supplying pallet racking.

Please direct your interest in fulfilling these requirements to the SCLAA National Secretariat at

Introducing SCLAA’s New National Partner – Gamma Solutions Pty Ltd

New SCLAA National Partner

Gamma Solutions Pty Ltd

The SCLAA welcomes our newest National Partner, Gamma Solutions Pty Ltd. As a not for profit Industry Association, run by members for members, our ability to support the SCLAA infrastructure and to expand is highly dependent on our National Partners. We ask all our members to support our valued National Partners where they can.

Gamma Solutions Overview

Gamma Solutions Pty. Ltd. a privately owned Australian company since 1992; and has evolved into one of the largest enterprise mobility specialists with proven experience working with large corporate sites.

Our National head office is based in Mulgrave, Victoria and is made up of Sales, Management, Warehouse, Service Centre, Administration, Help Desk and Technical Staff.

Additional Sydney, Queensland, Adelaide, Perth & Auckland offices extends this support structure with additional Sales and Technical staff to cater for our customers Australia wide & in New Zealand.

Specialising in a wide range of solutions including, Retail and Consumer Goods, Field Service, Transportation and Logistics, Health Care and Warehousing and Distribution; our current team has well over 100 years of combined experience in supplying wireless solutions to some of the biggest companies in Australia and New Zealand.

Gamma Solutions is aligned with many leading technology companies such as Honeywell, Zebra Technologies, Datalogic, Handheld, Cisco, Aruba, Staylinked, Soti and Wavelink. These partnerships allow us to provide our clients with a competitive advantage in all aspects of enterprise mobility.

Our Service Centre is an Authorised Honeywell, Zebra and Handheld Repair Centre, servicing hardware devices in-house, thus reducing company downtime.

We know that operating a business is time-consuming. That is why we will work around our customer’s schedules. We can create virtual systems in our offices; this means we can simulate your installation and test the system well in advance of the commissioning date.

By relying on the experienced professionals at Gamma Solutions to assist with your project, you greatly increase the probability of optimising your data collection systems and everything that depends on them.

Gamma Solutions’ Professional Services consistently delivers more toward the speedy ROI of your data collection equipment and systems.

For mission-critical processes, we have customer care plans that will remain with you throughout the life of your system. We deliver the exact plan to meet your objectives.

We have the knowledge and expertise to give your business the competitive edge you want for optimum productivity and efficiency. We provide you with the necessary software, hardware, and support services you need to integrate a sound mobility solution into your corporate I.T.





On 6 January, the SCLAA announced that the Association would be working with NGOs, Government and other agencies to establish their requirements for the bushfire recovery and rebuilding. These requirements will include road cartage of goods, interim storage, warehouse unpack facilities, supply of food, water, fuel and other essentials, earthmoving equipment, temporary housing and other equipment, amongst others.

The main purpose of this initiative is to create a coordinated industry response with the SCLAA acting as a conduit between relevant authorities, NGOs and other on the ground organisations, and the Supply Chain, Logistics and Transport industries.

While the specific list of initial requirements is expected shortly, the SCLAA has established alliances and single points of contact with a number of organisations which will assist in distributing the lists of requirements. These include:

  • Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA)
    In partnership with the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA), the FTA is the representative body for the international supply chain sector bringing together importers, exporters, customs brokers, freight forwarders and logistics service providers.
  • Road Freight NSW
    Road Freight NSW is the peak industry organisation in NSW representing trucking operators. Its members range from some of the nation’s largest transport companies, with many thousands of employees, through to small family businesses operating with less than 5 employees, servicing all areas of NSW.
  • Shipping Australia Ltd (SAL)
    The peak industry body representing all Shipping Lines and shipping agents calling Australian Bulk and Container Ports. SAL members have ready to deploy shipping containers to provide much needed storage of goods in bushfire affected areas.
  • Australian Federation of International Freight Forwarders (AFIF)
    Represents the Sea Freight and Air Freight Forwarding agencies with affiliations to Customs and Border security and various relationships with Industry service providers both locally and internationally.

The SCLAA was directly commended last week for its foresight and pro-activeness in this endeavour and providing its own Secretariat and Administrative resources to assist with the communication process.

We have been informed that the various and widespread requirements are currently being assessed by the authorities in the newly re-opened fire devastated communities and requirements in the first instance will be further communicated in the coming days.

Thank you to those who have already contacted the SCLAA to advise us of services and equipment that they are able to provide towards the recovery and rebuild.


Merry Christmas from the SCLAA

Introducing SCLAA’s New National Partner – EMP Onsite

The SCLAA welcomes our newest National Partner, EMP Onsite. As a not for profit Industry Association, run by members for members, our ability to support the SCLAA infrastructure and to expand is highly dependent on our National Partners. We ask all our members to support our valued National Partners where they can.

EMP Onsite Overview

EMP Onsite is a national injury prevention organisation based in Melbourne. Our onsite programs deliver significant savings to employers by improving the health and safety of their workforce. EMP uses cutting edge wearable sensor technology to analyse and understand how your workers are performing their job tasks, information which can then be used to prevent injuries, reduce WorkCover premiums, reduce LTI’s and increase productivity.

Australia Post has partnered with EMP on 93 of their sites Australia wide, you can watch their story here –

Onsite Injury Prevention – Exercise Movement Professionals- EMP Onsite

Meagan Blackburn. Meagan’s career spans senior roles in product management, strategy and planning, operational and project management. She has a clinical background, working for 10+ years in musculo-skeletal physiotherapy, before moving into roles in biotechnology and health services.



Introducing SCLAA’s New National Partner – HERE Technologies

New SCLAA National Partner

HERE Technologies

The SCLAA welcomes our newest National Partner, HERE Technologies. As a not for profit Industry Association, run by members for members, our ability to support the SCLAA infrastructure and to expand is highly dependent on our National Partners. We ask all our members to support our valued National Partners where they can.

HERE Technologies Overview

HERE Technologies, the HERE Location Platform company, enables people, enterprises and cities to harness the power of location. By making sense of the world through the lens of location, we’re investing in the future and preparing for a world of connectivity and automation, and empowering our customers to achieve better outcomes – from helping a city manage its infrastructure or an enterprise optimise its assets to guiding drivers to their destination safely. 

From a supply chain perspective global business are under pressure to enhance customer service while streamlining costs and processes. This puts margin pressure on logistics partners, who have to look for ways to maximize asset utilization, lower costs, and improve delivery performance.

HERE offers a rich portfolio of map data and location services specifically built to support some of the most critical fleet operations – going well beyond mapping, navigation and routing into other aspects such as road curvature, slope, truck attributions, speed limits for trucks, location of traffic lights, accident black spots, and location of tolls. With our enterprise-grade data and services, software developers have the power to maximize their customers’ most critical KPIs.

  •   Transforming fleet operations, from start to finish
  •   Calculate accurate ETAs
  •   Improve safety
  •   Increase asset utilization
  •   Lower operational costs
  •   Optimize routes
  •   Enhance the driver experience
  •   Use tracking and location data to improve efficiency, spot risks and address
    challenges in your supply chain before they become critical.

HERE is the only location technology provider to have digitised Australia’s national truck data. For drivers, this means we can provide truck parking locations on route, ensure their route avoids any bridges unsuitable for the vehicle height, and direct them to the correct loading dock or gate at the destination on arrival. For the operational team, we can provide control rooms with complete visibility of vehicles on the road with reliable delivery time estimations, helping them save money and improve the quality of their own services. From leaving the centre to the delivery time stamp to its return ETA, data enables controllers to optimise the last mile experience for inbound and outbound trucks, thus reducing time wastage, decreasing driver costs and ultimately increasing the number of trips completed.

Our HERE Location Platform, a cloud based, secure development environment, brings everything you need for location-centric development into one place. It can help mitigate the problems we face as our populations continue to grow, as well as holding the key to new kinds of services that can change people’s lives for the better – autonomous driving, autonomous drones, advanced traffic management, smart logistics, asset tracking and more.

Here Technologies


2019 ASCL Award Photographs


The official photographs of the 2019 Australian Supply Chain & Logistics Awards are now available to view and download:

Click on the link above, then on the first photograph. One can then scroll across using > at the bottom of the screen.

Guest Speaker Announced – 2019 ASCL Awards

SCLAA announces Guest Speaker
2019 Australian Supply Chain & Logistics Awards

The SCLAA is proud to announce that Richard White, CEO and Founder, WiseTech Global, will be the guest speaker at the 2019 Australian Supply Chain & Logistics Awards (ASCL Awards) Gala Dinner to be held in the Ballroom, Luna Park, Sydney on Friday, 22 November. For information on the ASCL Awards Gala dinner, CLICK HERE.

Richard White
CEO and Founder, WiseTech Global

From its inception in 1994, as an idea in his basement in Newtown, Sydney, Richard has grown WiseTech into a $10 billion global technology company covering 150 countries. In April 2016, Richard listed the company on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX:WTC).

Self-proclaimed ‘tech-nerd’, Richard has over 30 years in software development, embedded systems and business management and over 20 years of freight / logistics industry experience. He has an extensive knowledge of logistics operations, cross border and supply chain compliance, and a deep technical understanding of e-commerce and global industry and technology issues.

Richard actively works to assist the industry in a number of voluntary forums. He consults freely to various industry associations and attends the many technical and industry forums in order to understand and develop systems and processes to suit the international and domestic regulatory environments. Richard works with the Australian Computer Society and a number of universities and high schools on creating a pathway for students to enter the IT industry.

He is also a keen advocate of professional development and helps local IT businesses and entrepreneurs that are joining the growing ranks achieving international success.

Qualifications and awards

Fellow of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
NSW Tech Entrepreneur of the Year 2016, Pearcey Foundation
University of Technology Sydney – Luminarie
Adjunct Professor of UTS Faculty of Engineering & Information Technology (FEIT)
Masters in Business in Information Technology (MBIT) from UTS

2019 ASCL Award Finalists Announced


Finalists Announced for the

2019 Australian Supply Chain & Logistics Awards

The Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia today officially announced the finalists for the longest running and most prestigious awards program in the industry. Having served the industry for 58 years, the ASCL Awards are the most recognised and prestigious awards for an individual or a company to receive.

Winners of the Australian Supply Chain & Logistics Awards will be announced on at the ASCL Award Gala Dinner to be held on Friday, 22 November 2019 in the Grand Ballroom, Luna Park, Sydney. Click here to register to attend the ASCL Awards Gala Dinner.

Industry Excellence Award

This Award recognises and acknowledges outstanding achievements and contribution by an individual currently engaged across the supply chain industry. Persons nominated for this most prestigious award will be leaders and will have made significant change to the way a supply chain is managed and improved either academically, physically or technologically. Originally awarded in 1987 and dedicated to Mike Munns, FAIMM, this award remains a cornerstone of SCLAA’s commitment to recognising and promoting the importance of the supply chain industry and its people to continuously improving organisational strength and growth.

2019 Industry Excellence Award Finalists are:

  • Amira Amin – Visa Global Logistics
  • Ryan Cummings – Whale Logistics Australia
  • Mosh Elkersh – International Cargo Express
  • Susan Innes – Stanwell Corporation
  • James Sheerin – Visa Global Logistics

Future Leaders Award

The purpose of this award is to provide incentive and recognition to young supply chain professionals who are both currently working in and wish to continue their career path. Nominees for this award should be able to demonstrate their passion and commitment to taking the supply chain toward tomorrow. The SCLAA wishes to showcase finalists and provide impetus to continue to attract the brightest to the industry. First awarded in 2009 and dedicated to Vince Aisthorpe.

2019 Future Leader Award Finalists are:

  • Val Brusylovsky – Boutique Retailer
  • Krystel Cochico – Visa Global Logistics
  • Harvey Delos Santos – Australia Pharmaceutical Industries
  • Benjamin French – PwC
  • Caine Jai Ittensohn – Visa Global Logistics
  • Blake Kelly – Mainfreight
  • Gabrielle Lee – Qsuper
  • Gabriella Orazem – Visa Global Logistics
  • Barnabas Walkemeyer – Lion Dairy and Drinks

Supply Chain Management Award

Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the oversight of materials, information, and finances as they move in a process from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. This award recognises an organisation that can demonstrate significant achievement within a section or across their entire supply chain. Nominees should be able to clearly state the design and achieved results of the project or process that was envisaged and then implemented. The trophy was first awarded in 1984 and is dedicated to Doug Beattie.

2019 Supply Chain Management Award Finalists are:

  • Adiona
  • Asahi Beverages
  • C.H. Robinson
  • Metcash Trading Ltd

Training, Education & Development Award

Training, education and development remains a vital part of allowing knowledge to be utilised for new ideas and supply chain improvements to be discovered and then implemented This award will be presented to a company that can best demonstrate their committeemen, application and results of providing training, education and development of their people. The trophy was first awarded in 2002 and is dedicated to the late Professor Peter Gilmour.

2019 Training, Education & Development Finalists are:

  • ECU, School of Business and Law
  • Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator
  • PGT-Reclaimed
  • Strategix Training Group & Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Information Technology and Management Award

Information remains the most important requirement of any supply chain. Information technology is where the majority of supply chain improvements have been made. Nominees for this award will demonstrate where their use of existing or new technology has provided significant improvements to their management of information and/or their supply chain processes. The trophy was first awarded in 1994 and is dedicated to the late Len Smith FAIMM.

2019 Information Technology and Management Award Finalists are:

  • BlockBit Solutions
  • Custom Innovation Co. (CIC)
  • Fulfilio
  • Polymathian
  • PTV Group Australia
  • uTenant

Environmental Excellence Award

The ASCL Environmental Excellence Award recognises corporate leadership contributing to the solution of environmental sustainability within our industry through performance and action. The trophy was first awarded in 1966 and is dedicated to Mr Ken Pike.

2019 Environmental Excellence Award Finalists are:

  • Adiona & Coca-Cola Amatil
  • B dynamic Logistics Pty Ltd
  • Custom Innovation Co. (CIC)
  • PGT-Reclaimed
  • PSM Upstream
  • Transport for NSW

International Supply Chain Award

Recognising that Supply Chains know no boundaries, the ASCL International Supply Chain Award is given to a Company, Association or an Individual that may operate internationally and are able demonstrate their capability, commitment and achievements across any spectrum of the sciences, practices, disciplines or efforts to promote and improve the knowledge and acceptance of the importance of the supply chain.

2019 International Supply Chain Award Finalists are:

  • Health Promotion Board, Singapore (submission 46)
  • Health Promotion Board, Singapore (submission 50)
  • Whale Logistics Australia

Logistics Management Award

This new award, inaugurated in 2017, and for one of the longest standing disciplines of any supply chain and replaces the Storage and Materials Handling award. The recipient of this Award may stem from the 2019 Award finalists or may be an individual who the Judging Panel feels has demonstrated achievement, improvement or results have required a logistical approach to improvement or major change to their logistics management.

The winner of this Award will be announced on the night.


To reserve your seat or a table for you and your colleagues at the 2019 ASCL Awards Gala Dinner on 22 November at Luna Park Sydney, visit the Gala Dinner page on the SCLAA Calendar of Events on the website.

For any queries, please contact the SCLAA National Secretariat on or 1300 364 160