Alan Brown, the Operations Manager who was hosting the visit, welcomed the group and briefly outlined the history of ASDA, from its originins in the 1920's through to the take over by Walmart in 1999 and this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the first Walmart store. In 2012 Walmart has global sales of around $440 billion, employes 2.2 million colleagues and operates in 27 countries.
The party was then given a tour of the depot and were accompanied by Jim McColl, the Process Operations Manager and Brian Chalmers, the Transport Manager. The Falkirk depot handles chilled and frozen foods and deliveries are made to 58 stores in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The offices are open plan and managers are in the same room as staff. Staff facilities include a gymnasium and a staff canteen that operates 24 hours a day.
Deliveries of chilled and frozen products are made to stores before 8 am daily and as stock is not held in the depot, means that customers get fresher produce. The company is undertaking a trial using 50 foot trailers that mean an additional 4 pallets or 6 cages can be transported. The warehouse has three sections, one for chilled produce at 2 degrees centrigrade, one area maintained at 13 degrees centigrade and the freezer for frozen foodstuffs.
A view of the interior of the Falkirk RDC.
© John Fender, 2012
A variety of fork lift trucks are used to move products around and there is a high speed battery charging facility. There is also an on site workshop for maintenance.
The transport department is responsible for 102 units and some 60 - 70 vehicles leave each night with deliveries for stores. The aim is to achieve an average of between 1.2 and 1.3 runs per trailer every 24 hours, some trailers being able to complete more runs, wilst the deliveries to the stores futher away willresult in fewer runs. The fleet is constantly monitored using Isotrak's ATMS system.
This enables vehcile performance to be onstantly monitored and provides detailey analysis of vehcile productivity. The depot also has a recycling centre and ackaging is returned for porcessing. The company aims to reduce waste sent to landfill to zero.
Members inspecting on of the new fork lift trucks inside the RDC.
© John Fender, 2012
The party was then conveyed to the new Grangemouth site, built on the site of the former ICI recreation ground. This £39 million development is a 496,877 square foot ambient distribution centre supplying some 8,000 of the fastest moving product lines. The new depot will employ 600 colleagues and along with two other depots being built by ASDA will reduce mileage operated by over 1 million per annum.
The depot also handles the George range of clothing which arrives in double deck trailers. The deport is also conveneiently located for the Malcom Rail terminal in Grangemouth where containers arrive. Currently some 15 containers a day are moved by rail, reducing road mileage.
At the end of the visit, past Chairman of the Scottish Region Dougie Adamson, presented Alan Brown with one of the Region's engraved glasses as a momento of the evening.
The Scottish Region would like to thank Alan Brown, Jim McColl, Brian Chalmers and the other ASDA colleagues for their time and answers to the various questions asked during the tour of the facilities.
Report and photographs by John Fender.
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