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HomeFeaturesInside Toyota South Africa’s R365-million parts centre – The largest in the Southern Hemisphere

Inside Toyota South Africa’s R365-million parts centre – The largest in the Southern Hemisphere

Toyota has reopened its Africa Parts Centre (TAPC) in Boksburg, Gauteng, which the company said is now the largest one of its kind in the entire Southern Hemisphere.

The upgraded facility covers a total surface area of 80,000m² and stores over 2.7 million automotive components, which are shipped from here to no fewer than 42 countries.

Fast growth

Toyota South Africa first established this particular parts centre in 2012 on a 40,000m² plot, becoming the third storage facility in the country for the automaker.

The company has enjoyed considerable growth since then and quickly realised the need to consolidate the three plants into one, which would not only streamline its local operations but also complete another step in Toyota’s global plan.

With the finalisation of TAPC, the South African facility now forms part of the company’s worldwide “hub and spoke” distribution layout which sees five major parts hubs covering five major intercontinental regions in the most efficient manner possible.

Planning for the TAPC started in 2019 and ground broke on the new construction in January 2020, but was shortly thereafter interrupted by Covid-19 and the ensuing global shutdowns.

Through clever planning, however, Toyota managed to cut pandemic-related downtime to a total of nine weeks throughout the entire 27-month project.

The lengthy process was needed as the planning involved doubling the original floor space and redesigning the entire layout so that operations can run even smoother than before.

The entire new area is now reserved for heavy part storage and incoming shipments, whereas the previous area has been reworked to accommodate the more frequently-needed parts as well as all the outgoing shipments closer together.

In length, the building is now just shy of half a kilometre at 485 metres, and in width it’s 190 metres – roughly the size of 11 soccer fields, said the company.

Inside, it houses 33,000m² of steel racking weighing in at a total of 1,980 tonnes, on which 2.7 million parts for Toyota, Lexus, and Hino vehicles are stored.

The value of all these components, said Toyota, sums up to a staggering R900 million.

Toyota is actively working on decreasing the TAPC’s carbon footprint, too, through the use of solar panels, a water purification plant, and environmental preservation.

The solar panels currently installed have up to a 475kW generating capacity and the company’s goal is to increase this to 1.5MW by the end of the year.

In 2023, it will also integrate a battery storage system to eventually completely move off the grid.

Additionally, the facility has a water storage and purification plant that has collected two million litres of stormwater, equating to a 100-day supply, with 1,700 litres going through the purification system every hour.

Its last commitment to the environment is wetland preservation. Toyota reached an agreement with the local municipality that it will look after the wetland adjacent to the TAPC, and it has kept the area in “pristine condition” since 2019, it said.

For the 493 full-time employees working at the facility each day, the manufacturer has also built a running track, a soccer field, and two netball fields for recreation after their shifts.

With all these upgrades you might think the company is set for a long time, but it certainly doesn’t anticipate that.

Toyota has built decent room for growth into its new R365-million parts centre but confirmed there are already talks of what is going to have to be done when it eventually grows out of this space, and the company hinted that this could happen as soon as 2030 if it hits all its ambitious targets.

TAPC wetland preservation area

Impressive exports

The TAPC currently exports a monumental number of parts to six intercontinental destinations, 36 Sub-Saharan African countries, and 277 dealerships within South Africa and its neighbours – Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and Eswatini (BNLE).

The facility processes 22,000 domestic dealer orders in 20-minute cycles and executes 330 deliveries, every day.

This includes delivering goods to Cape Town, Richards Bay, and Maun, Botswana once every 24 hours, and if a dealer is within 100 kilometres of the TAPC, it will receive two parts shipments in the same timeframe.

When needed, the TAPC also updates all its systems and customer details overnight so that the drivers always have the correct information when they take off first thing in the morning.

As a result, the fleet of 52 trucks has achieved a 98% on-time delivery rating and covers an average distance of 60,000km per day. In previous emergencies where parts were desperately needed and there was not enough time for delivery by road, Toyota has also sent air freight shipments, it said.

Toyota Africa Parts Centre



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