Teamwork brings big benefits to leading UK supermarket

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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.

Author

Steven Imrie

Senior Service Manager

Since we 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 our 64 skilled and dedicated personnel that work in the operational and support teams.

We are 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 we 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 us all a real sense of achievement.

Taking pride in our work

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

In return, we recognise 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, our employees, and more importantly, our customer.

That’s why our team is focussed on achieving the best results for Asda, and always looking for ways in which to improve. As an example, we’ve incorporated a technical cleaning team into our preventative maintenance slot, which helps us 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 we have to find the right balance between what we’d like to achieve and what’s possible in our daily operations. That’s why we’ve 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 we share a common belief in people. We’ve embedded the drive to improve productivity within our culture. Thanks to our partnership, we’ve 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. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved in this relatively short period of time, and we look forward to continuing this in the future.

Curious to learn more? Watch this video!

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Teamwork brings big benefits to leading UK supermarket

In 2016, the UK supermarket chain Asda 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.

Continue reading