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State Logistics Centre works to the front line
From a 2000m² warehouse in Knoxfield in outer Melbourne, the staff of the State Logistics Centre (SLC) work directly to the CFA mission of protecting lives and property.
“We’re part of that incident combat,” said Manager Lawson Willoughby. “One hat is business-as-usual including storage, distribution and procurement and the other hat is incident management preparedness. We become part of that operational army, serving the field by driving supplies to any fireground within five hours distance. That can be assembling and delivering equipment for staging areas or sandbags for flooding.
On-site and ready to go are two 20-foot containers, one containing a store with shelving and the other a complete staging area office.
The SLC commercially contracts out a Monday to Friday 24-hour turnaround delivery to 23 district stores, 11 district mechanical officer stores and two training ground stores. It carries 1400 stock items from helmet decals to pallets of water although their main range is personal protective clothing, couplings, adaptors and hose.
Perhaps their most important task, however, is to control the inventory according to the season ahead. They also maintain an overview of all state stores so each of them only has to carry a minimum of stock.
“Experience helps us plan for a bad season and find the balance,” continued Lawson. “Ration packs perish after 24 months, water after 12 months and hydrate after nine months and we might distribute $11 million of assets across a year.
“Most fires don’t start until late afternoon so we need to move supplies when industry is closed. Many suppliers are in recess through summer so that has to be factored in too.
“We’re operating at capacity and we give a three-fold return on investment by not outsourcing. Because we bulk buy, we can get the best value for CFA.”