Parcels firm moves into new hub

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APC Overnight has moved to a new hub at Essington, near Cannock, to accommodate its rapid expansion. It is the fourth time that the parcels company has moved to larger premises in nine years.

The company has bought the former Apex and City Link premises to serve as its overnight national sortation centre. It replaces APC’s site at Access 10, Darlaston. The new facility, just off J11 of the M6, is set in six acres and comprises 8,370sq m of office and warehousing space as well as 56 high load bays.

Commenting on the move, a spokesman for APC says: “Our new national sortation centre at Essington offers APC the opportunity to continue with our phenomenal growth. Our move to a new hub and administration centre, our investment in IT and our major investment in a new conveyor system is a clear demonstration of just how ambitious our plans for the future are.”

He continues: “We are enjoying growth levels of 40% annually and in order to ensure we can accommodate further growth we have had to invest substantially in a new hub and equipment.”


Although many of the challenges were different the overall process was virtually identical to delivering such a project in UK or France.

Goldbeckbau International was the nominated civil and building contractor working to a ProLogis standard form of Design and Build Contract. Team relationships throughout the project were excellent and the standards were comparable to anything you would find in the more developed markets.

Uwe Brackman, managing director of Goldbeck, enthuses over his relationships with ProLogis and Ahold: “We enjoy working with intelligent clients who appreciate their suppliers.”

Conceptual design of the projects was carried out in the UK consistent with the Goldbeck preferred local style of building. Principal sub-contractors were selected from a panel of preferred suppliers – ProLogis enjoys pan-European agreements with all its major suppliers – with warranty and maintenance agreements in place.

ProLogis head of procurement Maurice Dalton explains: “Long-term supplier agreements are fundamental to ensuring that our customers get a consistency of service regardless of building location.”

In Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary the work goes on and recent successes with Tesco and Unilever only confirm the growing significance of these markets. ProLogis vice president Piotr Michalski sums up its efforts: “Projects are getting bigger and faster, and our supply chain has grown and improved remarkably. We feel confident in being able to make the biggest promises to our customers.”

Now promises do not come any bigger than the ProShed 50 initiative from ProLogis. The project management team have learned a lot while constructing some 200 buildings across Europe and many of these lessons have come together with ProShed.

With ever-shortening timescales,

ProLogis assembled a supply team with

the sole purpose to create a new way

of building; in short, to build quicker,

smarter and more intelligently but

without cost implication. Initially the

challenge was to question every

construction norm and turn the whole

process on its head. From this came the

innovative Matrix Grid Design, a

system whereby a customer can have

complete flexibility with the size of

their building using off-the-shelf plans.

This pre-designed approach eliminates

lead-in periods ensuring a speedy


Advances in safety, such as the unique handrail system, now ensure on-site labour can work safely and efficiently in a clean, controlled environment.

An approach more in common with the automotive industry was used to pre-design and fabricate to a JIT approach to warehouse construction. The use of pre-fabricated parts manufactured in a controlled environment ensures high quality and on-time delivery, eliminating unnecessary on-site labour.

The result is a revolution in project delivery with lower costs, increased quality and construction times slashed, a result which not only benefits ProLogis customers, but the project management teams and the construction industry as a whole.

The latest offering is a 25,000sq m building delivered in just 55 days. And it doesn’t stop there. The ProLogis development teams are dedicated to a policy of constant improvement by seeking new methods which can assist the design, management and construction process.

As David Postins remarked following completion of the first practical demonstration of the ProShed initiative: “This is the way forward. In future all European distribution buildings will be built this way, and we aim to stay one step ahead.” n

EUR.Ing Ken Hall is senior vice president at ProLogis Europe.

Tel: 0121 224 8700.

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