The Co-operative Group will officially open its new state-of-the-art distribution centre on Tuesday, July 26, which will service the whole of Scotland and Northern Ireland, following a capital investment of £25 million.
The Co-operative’s Group Chief Executive, Peter Marks, will join Trevor Ashworth, Director of Food Retail Supply Chain, and Justin Cash, Distribution General Manager, to unveil a plaque at the new depot at Newhouse, just off the M8 near Glasgow.
The 503,000sq ft multi-temperature depot is now ramping up and will be fully operational by September, when it will employ 1,000 staff. It will serve 618 stores in Scotland and Northern Ireland with an output of 60 million cases a year and will operate a fleet of 370 lorries and 140 fork-lift trucks and low level order pickers.
Newhouse, which occupies a 34 acre site, is home to the striking 9m tall public art sculpture called Woman Man Sun Moon. The depot will replace The Co-operative’s existing distribution operations in Pitreavie, which closed earlier this year, and Cumbernauld and Harthill, which will close before the end of 2011, and it is hoped as many staff as possible from these sites will transfer to Newhouse.
The Co-operative Group’s distribution centre in Newhouse is part of a major overhaul of its food logistics network following its acquisition of Somerfield in 2009. The overhaul aims to upgrade the existing facilities, improve supply chain performance and help create a platform for a superior store service.
Peter Marks, The Co-operative’s Group Chief Executive, said: "Newhouse is an excellent location to serve our stores across Scotland and Northern Ireland and is the latest major investment in our logistics network.
"Our new regional distribution centre is also a major investment in and commitment to the local community and will not only provide major employment locally but will also help further boost the local economy for many years to come."
Newhouse features several energy-saving and recycling initiatives, including rainwater harvesting to reduce water demand on site and waste oil burning systems for producing heating. It also has high reflective ceiling panels in the warehouse, which direct light downwards and LED lighting that provides a 60% decrease in energy costs while increasing lamp life. Newhouse has also achieved the BRE Environmental Assessment Method rating of Excellent and Energy Performance Certificate rating of A – the highest ratings currently awarded in the industry.
The Newhouse depot will also receive rail freight, as well road freight, taking lorry loads off the motorways, and saving more than a third of a million road miles a year and reducing carbon emissions. This follows a successful pilot, which began last year, which saw a daily rail service carry produce between Daventry, close to the Group’s National Distribution Centre at Coventry, and a rail freight terminal at Mossend, near Newhouse.
The Co-operative Group, the UK’s fifth largest food retailer, will also roll out a scheme at Newhouse to support FareShare, a national charity which campaigns to help communities relieve food poverty and reduce food waste.
Newhouse will send surplus food, such as oversupplies, damaged packaging and food nearing the end of its shelf life, to be enjoyed by some of the most disadvantaged people in the local community later this year.
Peter Marks added: "The Co-operative Group’s food business has significantly grown in recent years and our logistics operation has undergone a major overhaul to develop accordingly. This investment will help us to continue to provide high standards of service to our customers, while also allowing for further growth.
"Newhouse is the latest phase in the ongoing development of our logistics operation nationwide, which at the end of these major changes will mean we will have an efficient and modern logistics network that will reflect The Co-operative’s position as one of the UK’s ‘big five’ food retailers."