Japanese distribution company Unicharm has an approach to business that reflects that country’s values, placing corporate growth and achievement alongside integrity, well-being and social responsibility as key ‘Principles of Action’.
Not only is this reflected in the company’s quality range of disposable nappies, baby wipes and adult incontinence products distributed to Aged Care facilities, hospitals, community care organisations, pharmacies and grocery channels throughout Australia, but now is also reflected in its operational headquarters.
Unicharm’s $8.9M Victoria State Office and Distribution Centre, set on a 2.5ha site at the Precinct F2 estate in Mentone, provides more than 11,000m2 of space and significant upgrades to logistics and operations, to help Unicharm meet increasing demand. The design was influenced by extensive consultation with employees, and Japanese design criteria were incorporated in the office layout, interior design and selection of textures and materials, creating an environment that meets staff needs and promotes harmony and cooperation.
The two-storey office features an organic curved façade, which created some interesting construction challenges with its composite wall cladding and feature boxed steel punchouts to the windows on the west face. Inside, marketing and sales offices are complemented by board and meeting rooms, space for samples and a lab for product testing. The open plan design and outdoor staff area encourage collaboration and build team culture, while a Japanese Wellness Room brings the philosophy of health and well-being into the heart of the workplace.
The adjacent warehouse features its own office, recessed docks fitted with Longreach Boom Conveyers and an external covered canopy to weatherproof loading and unloading. Water harvesting systems for toilet flushing and irrigation, solar hot water and sensor-controlled LED lighting throughout minimise environmental impact and help offset operational costs. Developer Goodman is now working with Unicharm on the possible installation of a solar capture system, to further increase sustainability.
The site’s proximity to the airport meant OLS restrictions, designed to protect airspace, which limited the use of cranes on the South-West corner of the site at certain times of the day. Qanstruct devised a plan to construct from the ‘middle-out’ rather than ‘side-to-side’ as would normally be the case. This allowed work to proceed on the affected area each morning and move to other areas in the afternoon, when restrictions were in place, ensuring the project was delivered without delay.
The result is a facility which, like the company itself, reflects cooperation, integrity and harmony and, in line with Unicharm’s core value, is set to ‘create a better quality of life for everyone’.