At the beginning of 2004, supply chain provider Wincanton took over P&O’s bonded warehouse operation in Greenford, Middlesex. Since then, there has been a new spring in the depot’s step, as Wincanton has undertaken a lot of inward investment. A major part of this has been an improvement in the depot’s facilities, of which the introduction of a new fleet of Hyster lift trucks and warehousing equipment plus sweepers, supplied by Barloworld, has been very much a prized acquisition by the Greenford staff.
Within the Wincanton Group, the Greenford site is the largest multi-user centre, a bonded warehouse in fact, with two specific distribution responsibilities and a general distribution duty. The first of the main responsibilities is for the distribution of wines, spirits and beers for Waitrose’s 172 stores and fine wines for the John Lewis Direct network. These leave Greenford for regional distributions centres (RDCs) around the country in places such as Bracknell and Milton Keynes. This is a case-picking operation for the Wincanton team which is headed by John Finch, with the cases being loaded into cages and then onto lorries to go out.
The second main responsibility is for the distribution of all of Pernod-Ricard’s 48 different drinks brands for relevant RDCs, leading supermarkets and individual stores all over Britain. This operation is 80% full pallet loads and 20% case picking. Between them the two operations handle 15 and a half million cases of alcohol a year.
The new Hyster fleet have resulted in higher productivity and reduced running costs.