Yearsley Logistics, frozen food logistics provider, will complete the second phase of a three-part, £5m expansion of its freezer “superhub” warehouse in December.
The expansion, which uses PowerStor technology from Power Automation Systems (PAS), has an additional 50,000 sq. ft. of space, which provides 12,000 extra pallet sites bringing the total to 60,000 pallets at Heywood, UK.
Third superhub in 2015
Planning permission has also been granted for a third superhub in Peterborough, with building work due to commence in 2015.
Harry Yearsley, CEO, Yearsley Logistics, told FoodProductionDaily, several years ago the frozen food industry was moving to shorter lead times.
“Our vision and strategy was to embrace this by investing in building superhubs and implementing new processes,” he said.
“The PAS system speeds up the customer ordering process and improves productivity, as well as having environmental benefits in relation to less door openings and lighting.”
Looking at future industry trends, Yearsley added the company needs to keep pace with an ever-changing marketplace.
“From an end-customer’s perspective, product delivered just in time, in full loads reduces inventory and labour costs. As well as having a 24/7 operational capability, logistics providers need a full complement of services seven days per week, including planning and customer services.
“We have invested heavily in infrastructure and automation, as well as maintaining a large core fleet to ensure these requirements can be met now and on-going. The large fleet of vehicles enable us to react to the volatile spikes we see in demand.”
Cost effective rates
He said the superhubs are primary consolidation centres that offer cost effective rates for cold storage, distribution, ambient, chilled, freight forwarding services and repacking.
“The fully automated storage system by PAS has economic advantages including electricity savings due to the high density design, minimal light requirements and the reduction in door openings,” said Yearsley.
“In-store software has been designed and programmed to marshal direct onto conveyor staging lanes, allowing just-in-time loading for our customers.
“Our Day one for Day two service is paying dividends with increased demand for services and demand for space in the cold stores.”
Cory Hypes, executive VP, PAS, said automation solves many issues facing businesses.
“Our customers are realizing a significant lower cost in storage and handling because automated systems allow them to better utilize their existing warehouse which may only be 20ft to 40ft tall,” he said.
“This reduces outside storage, labor, transportation and product damage costs. As the technology continues to mature, the cost to implement these systems will decline making the return even greater.
Distributed on its own fleet
“We see a tipping point coming where automated pallet warehouse for even a small warehouse will be the norm."
Thanks to its vendor managed inventory (VMI), Yearsley Logistics has won contracts with a number of UK food suppliers, storing their goods at its depots; orders are picked up by the store and distributed on the firm’s own fleet to retailer hubs across the country or distributed direct to store.
The company will now invest up to £15m over the next few years to develop the site and add extra frozen, ambient and chilled storage.
Yearsley Logistics has invested over £120m over the last six years. This money has been spent on: expansion and refurbishment of several depots including Heywood, Hams Hall and Coleshill, the implementation of energy-saving initiatives such as solar panels and LED lighting and the purchase of more economical vehicles.