Fast Forward > Asda

“The right people in the right place at the right time”

We last visited Asda’s 28,600m2 ambient distribution centre (ADC) in Warrington when Vanderlande’s automated case picking (ACP) solution was installed in 2016 and the leading supermarket chain had entered a five-year agreement with Vanderlande to deliver life-cycle services. In the first of a new series, we fast forward five years and return to the UK retailer, which has already demonstrated longer-term commitment to Vanderlande by renewing the site-based contract until 2026.

During this time there have been significant improvements in performance and throughput at the site, built upon a collaboration between the operational teams of both companies. When the facility opened, Asda’s aims were to: increase and maintain the high availability of products in store, allowing it to be more cost-effective with a better pick accuracy; and enhance the on-site safety and wellbeing of its employees.

Record-breaking performance

Fast forward to the present day and the flagship Warrington ADC is Asda’s most efficient automated “ambient spoke” in its network of stores – with the highest picking accuracy. It even broke former parent company Walmart’s global record, consistently leading its facilities in terms of the Overall Warehouse Rate (OWR). The ADC 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 equates to an overall increase in volume of 23% since 2018.

This is thanks in part to Vanderlande’s future-proof ACP solution and dedicated commitment from the 64 personnel in the operational and support teams responsible for overall system performance and maintenance activities. “The Vanderlande team at Warrington has gone from strength to strength,” says, Sharon Hammond, Senior Director Food North, Asda Logistics Services. “We’ve got the right people in the right place at the right time, and they have bought into the ‘one team way of working’ and the viable solutions to help us improve this site.”

Compliance, customer and cost

Jon Parry, Vice President, Asda Logistics Services is delighted that the ADC has achieved its aims and exceeded expectations, “The journey we’ve been on from day one to where we are now, means that we are 50% more productive. The biggest improvements with Vanderlande’s solution are what I refer to as ‘three of our key Cs’: firstly, it’s about compliance, i.e. the health and safety, and performance of the site; then it’s the customer and quality of service, through accuracy and providing our customers with a better service; and finally the cost.”

A successful partnership

Furthermore, Vanderlande has created a technology road map to improve the reliability and efficiency of the site. Over the past six years, data has become increasingly important in driving performance by benchmarking assets and giving visibility to Asda.

Sharon reinforces this point, “Part of our strategic framework is to continue with automated solutions, and Vanderlande has a key part in driving these forward to where we need to be on our innovation journey. I’m really excited about our future – I’ve seen this site develop successfully, and I know that will continue thanks to our partnership with Vanderlande.”

Above all, the ongoing success of the ADC highlights how Asda and Vanderlande share a common belief in people. Steven Imrie, Senior Operations & Maintenance Manager, leading Vanderlande’s life-cycle services operation at the ADC, concludes, “We’ve embedded the drive to improve the site’s productivity within our culture. As a result of all the outstanding work both parties have achieved together in 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.”

“Thanks to the automation, we have the highest pick accuracy in the Asda network.”
David Marshall, Senior Manager Engineering | Asda
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