Ardo, one major supplier and processor of frozen and packed vegetables and fruit under both private label and branded, has invested more than £8M in a single chamber cold store and head office facility at Ashford, Kent.
The company, which packs, stores and distributes to household names including J Sainsbury, Tesco, Wm Morrison, Somerfield and Aldi, purchased a brownfield site to build the new cold store and head office facility which was completed and opened in 2001.
The reasoning behind the new cold store was driven by the annual cost savings which could be achieved over Ardo’s then storage, picking and distribution methods, all subcontracted to third parties, and quality.
Ardo felt that if it was in charge of its own storage and distribution it would be in charge of picking and distribution quality.
Prior to building the facilities at Ashford, the company transported frozen vegetable and fruit from its packing plant at Headcorn, Kent, and other Ardo processing and freezing plants and warehouses in Europe to the UK market via several consolidation stores throughout the UK.
Ardo chose Ashford for the cold store because the location is close to both the Headcorn facility and the Channel Tunnel, minimising vehicle travelling time from all its processing sites in Europe.
The cold store has capacity for 15,000 industrial sized pallets. Ardo selected mobile pallet racking for the facility – it has used Barpro/Storax mobile bases with Travhydro’s pallet racking. Mobile pallet racking enables Ardo to select individual pallets from all over the store, allows first-in first-out storage and ensures that maximum use is made of the cubic storage space.
Full pallets can also be broken down to individual cases, if customers require it. This operation is performed on a Travhydro three-tier mezzanine floor with a total of 225 full width roller tracks allowing the gravity storage of two pallets on each track.
Picking is to electric pallet trucks equipped with RF terminals enabling precise “right first time” picking and a paperless warehouse.
A lift removes the picked pallets from all three floors to the warehouse floor.