The Scottish Branch visited ASDA's Regional Distribution Centre at Grangemouth on Tuesday 20 February 2001. After a buffet, the Group was given a presentation by the General Manager, Adam Spiers and the Operations Director, Damien Laycock, with contributions from William Bone, the Warehouse Manager.
It was explained that ASDA is a people orientated business, with the philosophy that everyone is equal. All staff wear the same clothing and this includes the General Manager. ASDA have a team concept and around 800 staff are employed. Logistics is about getting things to the right place at the right time and it is no different in supplying stores with the goods they want. There is a strong emphasis on providing a high level of service and this is reflected in the fact that enquiries from stores receive a response within 1 hour and the gross error rate is 0.45%.
One of ASDA's delivery vehicles leaving the Grangemouth Regional Distribution Centre.
© John G. Fender 2010
Prior to 1989, when the Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) opened, over 1,000 suppliers were making daily deliveries to each store and each store had separate invoicing and purchasing systems. This led to stock problems. The opening of the Regional Distribution Centre enabled increased stock availability for the stores, reduced the stocks held and improved quality. When opened the RDC covered some 225,000 square feet, operating over 5 temperature bands and serving 22 stores. With expansion the RDC now serves 34 stores throughout Scotland and also includes the Carlisle store. This has meant an increase in the amount of warehousing available and today there is approximately 445,000 square feet of space on a site covering 28 acres. There are around 4,500 product lines stocked.
The Regional Distribution Centre costs some £17 million per annum to run, the largest single cost being that of transport accounting for some £7.4 million. Warehousing costs amount to some £7.2 million and 80% of the total is labour costs. The RDC moves an average of just over 1 million cases per week, with more depending on seasonal variations. To deliver this volume requires 65 tractor units and 92 trailers and 215 drivers. This fleet clocks up some 10 million miles annually making some 70,000 journeys to the various stores serviced from the RDC. All vehicles use low sulphur diesel and where possible the vehicles also collect goods from suppliers after store deliveries.
After the presentation, those present were then shown round the site in small groups and members were able to see the orders for the various stores being prepared for delivery. This included explanations of how the ordering system works, the labelling and checking of orders and the ongoing verification systems. Members were shown round the various storage areas, including the chilled warehousing facilities and also the "deep frozen" warehouse area where the temperature is maintained at around -35°C.
After the tour of the site, members were provided with further refreshments during which time they had a further opportunity to ask questions. The Scottish Branch would like to express its appreciation to ASDA for enabling the Group to visit the Regional Distribution Centre and in particular would like to thank Adam Spiers, Damien Laycock, William Bone, and Lorraine for their time and hospitality.
Report by John Fender.
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