XPO Logistics, a leading global provider of transport and logistics solutions, and Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, have today announced that their flagship distribution centre and technology hub in the UK has completed its phased opening to full operations. XPO and Nestlé began collaborating on the design and construction of the Digital Distribution Warehouse of the Future in 2018, together with technology partner Swisslog Logistics Automation.
The 638,000-square-foot facility at the Segro East Midlands Gateway in Leicestershire includes advanced solutions customised by Swisslog and integrated with XPO’s digital warehouse ecosystem. The operations use sophisticated robotics, automated sorting systems and XPO’s intelligent analytics to deliver fast, efficient distribution of Nestlé products, including KitKat, Maggi and Nescafé.
XPO has been ramping up operations at the site since mid-2020, using its global experience with COVID-19 and extensive safety protocols to protect workers. The processes are designed to accommodate the highest throughput of any warehouse in Nestlé’s global network. It will handle goods produced by 11 Nestlé UK manufacturing sites alongside those imported from several markets worldwide.
In addition to delivering the high volume of retail products associated with Nestlé’s food, dairy, nutrition, beverage, and confectionery ranges, the site also manages e-commerce fulfilment for the Nespresso brand, a retail solution for Nespresso Boutique stores, and value-added co-packing for a wide range of Nestlé food products.
Sustainability was a core consideration in the design and location of the building. The site is on a railhead, and Nestlé will be dispatching exports and deliveries into the London area via rail. A liquified gas refuelling station is currently being developed at the site to enable Nestlé to operate energy-efficient gas trucks instead of diesel.
Andrew Shaw, supply chain director, Nestlé UK and Ireland, said: “I’d like to offer a huge thank you to the many people at Nestlé and XPO who have worked so hard to bring our vision to life in this magnificent facility. Our digital distribution warehouse is an important step forward for our business and our customers. We can now be faster, more responsive, and more agile in how we supply our products under all conditions, and we can provide a bespoke, personalised service to our customers.”
Shaw added: “This truly is a digital warehouse of the future, with advanced technology that will give Nestlé the flexibility to meet customer and consumer requirements for many years to come.”
The site includes an innovation hub that also functions as an incubator to test new ways of addressing logistics needs. XPO will conduct real-life operating trials of promising technologies and will showcase innovations to customers. The facility is designed as a multi-user space to accommodate solutions tailored to the needs of different logistics operations.
“We’re delighted to launch this milestone facility officially,” said Malcolm Wilson, XPO’s chief executive officer – Europe. “Nestlé and Swisslog are trusted strategic partners of XPO, and they believe, as we do, that the best way to deliver excellence in the present is to maintain a strong focus on the future. We’re pushing the boundaries of supply chain thinking and disrupting the industry in the most positive sense.”
The new distribution centre is located in the Sergo East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park to take advantage of direct access to the M1 motorway and East Midlands Airport, as well as the onsite rail freight terminal that connects with the major UK ports of Southampton, Felixstowe, and London Gateway, and the Channel Tunnel.