Record throughput for Ocado fulfilment centre

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Ocado’s Hatfield customer fulfilment centre is operating at record levels of capacity following recent enhancements, the company has reported.

The highest number of orders delivered in a week exceeded 134,000 in the first quarter against 124,000 last year. Gross sales reached £162.1m for the quarter.

Further improvements are due to come on stream over the next quarter. These are designed to increase capacity, operational efficiency, and customer service performance.

The online retailer has seen sales rising but order sizes falling – so a 13.4 per cent rise in the average number of order translated into a 10.9 per cent increase in sales in the first quarter.

Operational performance improved with 93.2 per cent of orders on time or early (92.3 per cent FY11 Q1) and 98.2 per cent of items delivered as ordered (98.0 per cent FY11 Q1).

The operational improvements have also enabled the company to expand its range –it’s now approaching 21,000 SKUs and growing.

At the same time Ocado has been expanding its spoke network with the addition of Oxford in January, adding to the efficiency of our distribution network.

Work on the second customer fulfilment centre at Dordon in Warwickshire is on schedule. Testing and commissioning is due to start in mid-2012 and the site is due to go live in the first quarter of 2013.

Chief executive Tim Steiner said: “Evidence suggests we have largely overcome the operational challenges we faced in expanding our Hatfield capacity in the second half of 2011, and are set to meet growing demand through the rest of the year. We expect to see acceleration in sales growth as the year progresses.”

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