Norbert Dentressangle has invested £7M-£8M in its Easton site in Nottinghamshire in the two years since it acquired Christian Salvesen, incorporating ancillary services for processors.
The firm has added 60 new trailers and 15 new tractors at Easton and installed a 465m2 repacking area, including a three-way box closer, Domino printer and checkweigher.
It has also built a blast freezer, which handles five loads per week of anything from pancakes to naan bread or croissants. Norbert Dentressangle said it could double the capacity of the unit within a month.
"We are trying to bring everything under one roof, so customers don't have to take goods off site. It's about taking the cost off the customer," said Martin Atkinson, general manager at Easton. After the planning stage, he said, "we got the ancillary operations up and running in a matter of weeks"
In addition, the logistics provider has spent 18 months overhauling the supply chain IT infrastructure at Easton. "The introduction of track and trace technology for pallets is giving the customer the confidence that we have total manageability of product," said Atkinson.
He continued: "We used to allocate orders twice a day. Now we allocate them every hour. We did that six months ago and it took just a week. There were major IT changes there, but because we were dealing with an in-house system, we could do things fairly quickly.
"The next step is to allocate straight off the trailer, so I can see orders as soon as the trailer rolls through the gate." The move was needed to handle the freshness and speed of deliveries required, particularly by baked goods firms.
Norbert Dentressangle operates 83 UK sites and handles up to 18,000 pallets daily at Easton and aims to grow capacity there by more than a third within a few years. It clinched a contract with ready meal processor Headland Foods just this month.
At least 90% of the products dealt with at the 18-acre Easton site, which incorporates a 32,516m2 warehouse that can store 50,500 pallets, are under retailers' own-labels.