DHL and Unilever celebrate opening of major hi-tech distribution centre in the UK
Opening marks third UK site operated by DHL for UnileverLondon, 04/19/2006, 11:30 AM CEST
DHL Exel Supply Chain today celebrates the opening of a new 40,000 sq m DC in Cannock, Staffordshire, that it will manage on behalf of Unilever UK Foods. Manned by over 200 local DHL employees, the site uses the very latest technology to store, pick, repack and despatch goods to stock around 2,000 stores nationwide. Stock includes some of the UK's best known brands, such as Hellmann's, PG Tips, Knorr and Lipton.
Speaking at the opening today, Unilever's Chairman, Kevin Havelock, said, "I am delighted to be here today to formally open the site. We worked very closely with DHL to develop these operations which are located close to transport links and manufacturers across Europe. The technology you see here, managed and operated by DHL, is key in Unilever's ability to manage the last stages in our supply chain - often the most complex and time critical."
John Pattullo, Chief Operating Officer, DHL Exel Supply Chain, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said, "This site uses the very latest systems to ensure that each UK store has the right quantity of individual Unilever products at any given time. Our co-packing facility, operated by DHL, also means that we can prepare specialist store promotions of particular products. This is key to remaining ahead of the game in an increasingly complex and competitive consumer food market."
Industry estimates suggest that in the UK alone, the co-packing market is worth around £1 billion each year. Food manufacturers are increasingly turning to logistics providers to outsource packaging activities to enable them to concentrate on their core business.
Using automated conveyor belts and cranes, which are programmed to know exactly how to sequence operations and where to move and store the goods, each pallet is picked according to the needs of stores in the region using electronic sensors, without the need for pen and paper.
Pattullo concluded, "This is an important step for Unilever, and we're glad to be part of their team. This builds upon a 10 year plus relationship between our two businesses in locations around-the-world."