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Vanderlande: Teamwork brings big benefits to leading UK supermarket

Photo by Vanderlande Industries B.V.

In 2016, Vanderlande’s automated case picking solution (ACP) was installed at Asda’s 28,600m2 ambient distribution centre (ADC) in Warrington, UK. At the same time, the supermarket chain entered into a five-year agreement with Vanderlande to deliver life-cycle services. With the contract now extended until 2026, Steven Imrie, Vanderlande’s Senior Service Manager at the site looks at how the relationship has developed and prospered.

Since Vanderlande installed the ACP at Asda’s Warrington ADC, there have been significant improvements in performance and throughput at the site. The solution itself played a significant part in these results, as have Vanderlande’s 64 skilled and dedicated personnel that work in the operational and support teams.

Vanderlande is responsible for the overall performance of the system and the on-site maintenance activities. However, I truly believe that, in the end, the success is down to the effective collaboration between both companies. The way in which they have worked together is a perfect example of a reliable partnership, based on trust – I am really proud of what we have achieved.

Highest picking accuracy

When the facility opened, Asda’s aim was to increase and maintain the high availability of products in store, but making it more cost-effective with a better pick accuracy. There was also a total commitment to enhancing the on-site safety and wellbeing of its employees.

Nowadays, the Warrington ADC is Asda’s most efficient automated hub in its network of stores and has the highest picking accuracy. It handles an average of two million cases per week, processing nearly 9,000 SKUs and helping Asda supply over 125 stores across the northwest of England. This represents an overall increase in volume of 23% since 2018, which gives Vanderlande all a real sense of achievement.

Taking pride in our work

As I always say, “A happy engineer is a good engineer” – and so Vanderlande’s first priority was to refresh and develop the personnel. As a team, Vanderlande empowers their engineers to take responsibility and deliver a high standard of maintenance and service provision to the customer.

In return, Vanderlande recognises their progress and achievements, and aim to give them a better work-life balance. We can now use this as an example of how this approach results in a highly motivated internal organisation with a clear career pathway. Overall, everyone benefits: Vanderlande, its employees, and more importantly, our customer.

That’s why Vanderlande’s team is focussed on achieving the best results for Asda, and always looking for ways in which to improve. As an example, Vanderlande has incorporated a technical cleaning team into its preventative maintenance slot, which helps to prolong the lifetime of the material handling system. It also increases availability, minimises downtime, and doubles the amount of maintenance on critical assets.

Planning ahead is crucial, especially as Vanderlande has to find the right balance between what it would like to achieve and what’s possible in the daily operations. That’s why Vanderlande has created a technology road map to improve reliability and efficiency at the site. Data is being used more and more to drive performance by benchmarking assets. This helps Asda to see clearly how the site is performing.

A belief in people

One thing’s for sure, with Asda Vanderlande shares a common belief in people. Vanderlande has embedded the drive to improve productivity within its culture. Thanks to this partnership, Vanderlande has maintained outstanding performance in terms of on-time delivery – and halved the metrics for the faults per thousand cases.

This success has been driven by improved volume and increased reliability across the whole site. Vanderlande is proud of what it achieved in this relatively short period of time, and the company looks forward to continuing this in the future.

For more information, please visit: https://www.vanderlande.com/news/