Ahead of the 25th Supply Chain Excellence Awards, LogisticsManager.com caught up with Nestlé with GXO, nominee in the The Clipper Logistics Supply Chain Innovation category at the Awards.
Taking place on 8th November at the Hilton on Park Lane in London, the Supply Chain Excellence Awards are set to be a night of celebration, as the best in the logistics industry gather together on this very special 25th Anniversary.
How does it feel to have been shortlisted for a Supply Chain Excellence Award?
This is the first year we have submitted a nomination for the East Midlands Gateway site, and we are absolutely thrilled that our submission has been shortlisted. We are so proud of what the site has achieved since its opening in June 2020 and this will be an opportunity for us to showcase the site and give it the recognition that it deserves.
What has changed in your project since you entered?
Since we submitted our nomination the site has entered its second Christmas peak since go live. The site had a challenging first peak following its opening in 2020 as the nation was in the midst of a global pandemic. Whilst we are seeing restrictions relax, we are now faced with a new obstacle, this being the national HGV driver shortage.
The Awards will allow us to come together to celebrate our achievements as an industry given the unique challenges we have faced. It will be a great opportunity for us to reconnect with others and recognise our efforts, achievements and struggles together.
This is something that has heavily impacted our industry and our ability to get goods from warehouse to consumer. These shared challenges have unified the industry and the colleagues on site, and we are more determined than ever to be successful, so far in 2021 the site has shipped 4260079 Quality Street tubs, 1176551 cases of Azera coffee, and 993906 cases of Nescafe coffee jars. We have delivered millions of kit kats, and if these were laid out end to end it would stretch for 3,533 miles. This is the same distance from the UK to Michigan. We our proud of our site and the milestones that have achieved so far we are excited to see what this peak brings.
What are you most excited for on the night of the Awards?
We are excited to be able to network with others, both within our organisation and externally. The Awards will allow us to come together to celebrate our achievements as an industry given the unique challenges we have faced. It will be a great opportunity for us to reconnect with others and recognise our efforts, achievements, and struggles together.
What do you think is the most important thing to focus on now in the industry? What should be the biggest priority when it comes to change for the better?
As an industry, our focus is currently on the labour market and the national driver shortage. We believe that our immediate priority should be to support the shortage by offering comprehensive training academies to encourage individuals into this line of work. On a longer term scale, we would like the industry and site to explore the use of technology within this remit, and introduce driverless vehicles and autonomous yard management systems.
What are you looking forward to after the Awards?
After the Awards, the site will focus on the launch of its innovation lab which will pioneer and test unique technology in both ours and Nestlé’s organisation. East Midlands gateway has a 15 year contract with Nestlé and the lab will future proof the site and allow us to continue to build, test, and launch new technology in line with the sites digital vision. The site will work on its plan to transition from current state to our future goal where we will look to maximise digital technology in all areas and departments.
What made you decide to compete for the Supply Chain Excellence Awards?
East Midlands gateway is a flag ship site for both GXO and Nestlé, our site is a custom built distribution centre which features advanced sorting systems, intelligent machines, and robotics working with complex algorithms, our state-of-the-art automation is not one to be missed or not shouted about. We have submitted our nomination to give this unique site the recognition that it deserves.
How will you celebrate if you win? Where will you keep the trophy?
If we win, we will share the news with the site and across the GXO network, our customer Nestlé and automation partner, Swisslog. This will be a collective achievement and one that should be celebrated by all, from our employees that help to get the job done, to our engineers and customer for making this site a real success. The trophy will be placed in an open space for all to see and feel proud of our collective achievement.
What are your hopes for the project going forward? What are your next steps?
East Midlands Gateway will soon launch its innovation lab, this will be an incubator and a launch pad for all kinds of technology related to supply chains. We expect it to have far-reaching impacts in the industry and will encourage Nestlé’s global operators to think innovatively and interact with our technology team. Here at EMG, it is our aim to constantly evolve to meet and adapt to new challenges and add value to our people and customers as well as ensuring we remain relevant in our industry. Our choice is to simplify, standardise and pioneer.
The Supply Chain Excellence Awards are an opportunity for all logistics giants to showcase how modern, technologically capable, and efficient they are in comparison with their market competitors.
What difference did the project make for your company and for the sector?
In June 2018 it was announced that XPO Logistics had landed a one of a kind £55M, 15 year partnership with Nestlé. The two organisations would go on to work in collaboration to build a distribution centre of the future. This has been successfully achieved and with the help of advanced robotics, by August 2021 we picked 4.9 million cases through the gantry, (layer pick), robot. For a human picking 200 cases per hour in a traditional operation this would take them 2.8 years to achieve. Our robotics and sophisticated automation allows us to work faster and harder than ever in order to get ahead of the game which allows us to meet the needs of our customer and the ever changing supply chain industry.
What are your impressions of the Supply Chain Excellence Awards generally?
The Supply Chain Excellence Awards are an opportunity for all logistics giants to showcase how modern, technologically capable, and efficient they are in comparison with their market competitors. The Awards allow us to learn from each other, gain inspiration and ideas to move the industry forward. They also allow us to recognise and share our achievements with likeminded businesses.
Can you sum up 2021 from a supply chain perspective?
2021 has been a challenging year for the industry across the nation. Covid-19 has presented a number of challenges that have forced us to adapt quickly to help maintain the supply of essential goods to consumers. Covid-19 forced people to stay home and stay safe, this undoubtedly caused a surge in people to look to online shopping as the globe faced a pandemic like no other. The supply industry has boomed and due to the sites ability to work with minimal people and utilise our automation we have been able to continue working throughout the pandemic. 2021 has been a year for change and one to be remembered and learn from.
Do you have any advice for future Supply Chain Excellence Awards competitors?
Our advice would be to be proud of your achievements regardless of whether you are shortlisted. As an industry, we have been forced to change our strategy, adapt, and evolve at an alarming rate in order to provide an efficient service for our customers. This alone is an outstanding achievement and one that the network and industry we work in should be proud to say that we have delivered.