Brand new sustainable warehouse for Bunzl in Arnhem
Publication date: December 2019
Efficiency, error reduction and a vital workplace
With a revenue exceeding 10 billion euros, the publicly listed company Bunzl is global market leader in the sale of packaging and disposables. Within the Netherlands, various Bunzl organisations are focused on healthcare, food service, government, cleaning, personal protection equipment and retail & industry. For the latter organisation component, a brand new 21,300 m2 facility was constructed from June 2018 to June 2019. Lalesse Logistic Solutions took on a portion of the warehouse installation with a total of 27,000 pallet spaces.
Room to grow
Throughout the past 10 years, Bunzl has doubled its revenue and the organisation has their sights on continued growth in the coming years. Retail & Industry supplies packaging materials to countless businesses in the Netherlands, from supermarkets and warehouses to industrial bakeries and logistics service providers. With 126 colleagues, these activities are conducted from distribution centres in Arnhem and Waalwijk.
Due to the rapid growth, a significant portion of the stock was housed at an external location in recent years. Delivery from multiple distribution centres proved inefficient, motivating the decision for a new building. Together with two partners in Arnhem, a new, sustainable facility with a custom design has been realised to align with Bunzl’s ambitions. Of the 27,000 pallet spaces, 19,000 are now taken – more than enough space for continued growth over the coming 10 years.
Growth, vitality and speed
Space for growth but also a vital, sustainable workplace and an efficiently designed warehouse capable of rapid delivery. Wilbert van Wachtendonk, Managing Director: “Our sector is moving toward 24/7 delivery. We work business to business, so we aren’t yet required to operate day and night. We will, however, extend our delivery times to increase ease of ordering for our clients.”
Going the extra mile for your client
Warehouse layout was one of the steering groups committed to the layout of the new facility. Quotes were requested from multiple parties for the shelving materials. "Via project leader Eric Ebbers, Lalesse came into the picture at the last minute." tells Van Wachtendonk. "There was a bit of pressure because the deadline for commencing the construction of the facility was nearing rapidly. Their approach was exceptionally professional and they contributed greatly to the process. The right product for a good price and, more importantly, professional advice that helped us reach the best decisions."
"At Bunzl, we identified with the approach of Lalesse. It's a reliable organisation that goes the extra mile in service provision. Not for their own best interest, but because they want to help their client as best they can. That is precisely how we also work at Bunzl."
Orders have been distributed from the new warehouse since June 2019. Working from a single location offers Bunzl the oppertunity to achieve more organised and focused planning. The warehouse has a smart and efficient layout. There are wide aisles and larger shelving to easily accommodate and process pallets with irregular formats. With the new layout, walking distances are shorter and internal transport is reduced. Van Wachtendonk explains: “We have designed mobile working stations and a portion of the order picking process has been automated with the acquisition of paternosters. This has drastically reduced the number of manual operations during order picking. Just imagine that we sort the orders on a roll container per store for supermarkets. This can be a pallet full of bread bags but also a single cleaning brush or sponge. Automation helps us to work faster and free of errors.” With this small mechanisation step, the peak pressure on Monday and Tuesday can be compensated. There is also room for 20 to 30% growth without hiring additional personnel.
Pleasant workplace for (warehouse) staff
Bunzl warehouse personnel are pleased with the new location. New and improved materials make the work easier and more enjoyable. The climate and oxygen supply systems are excellent, and many plants have been distributed throughout the facility. Office bicycles, a cafeteria with fresh products and free fruit – Bunzl is highly invested in providing a vital workplace. “I think that the most significant benefit for our office and warehouse personnel is that they are now working as a single team. We worked together during the relocation and provided solutions for the logistical inconveniences in the initial weeks. This process allowed colleagues to get to know each other better and the unity that this has created makes me especially proud.”
Future plans: automation
During the consultations between Bunzl and Lalesse, both parties came to the conclusion that more efficiency improvements were possible. However, limited by time and the advanced stage of the construction, these improvements were no longer possible. In the future, Bunzl wants to focus on flexibilisation. “We are still bringing the materials to the employees, but this can be automated in future so that the products come to the people.” Additionally, with the current market transparency and clientele growth, prices are subject to ongoing pressure. Automation is therefore essential for Bunzl. “It reduces costs and provides error reduction. As a specialist, Lalesse contributes to logistics planning and processes. Improvements have been proposed that we didn’t request but are extremely interesting. We hope to continue our collaboration in this area throughout the coming years.”