Palmer and Harvey has ploughed £6.5m into a new, multi-temperature distribution centre.
The 168,000sq ft premises in Hemel Hempstead is the delivered wholesaler’s third serving the South East and has opened to help meet increased demand inside the M25. It will serve 5,200 customers, employ 300 staff, and, when fully operational, will stock 12,000 ambient, frozen and chilled lines.
Julian Streeter, P amp;H’s managing director, operations, said: “Palmer and Harvey now has 14 distribution centres, Hemel Hempstead is not only our most efficient, but also our most technologically advanced and the greenest.
“Hemel Hempstead will allow us to continue to offer our customers an excellent service, and it allows us to continue to reduce our environmental impact by reducing the number of road miles to service this area. Adding Hemel improves our capability and gives us capacity for growth.”
He added that the need for a third distribution centre in the region was driven by growth in the convenience sector.
All orders will be voice-picked to help keep errors to a minimum and reduce pick times. The new centre is also designed to be ultra energy efficient. For instance, the freezer and chiller are located together to ensure any air escaping from the freezer will help to keep the chiller cool. It also uses the latest green and energy efficient technologies including flicker-free lighting, which P amp;H says saves 25% on standard fluorescent fittings.
The wholesaler is planning extensive cardboard and plastic recycling to avoid landfill, while its fleet of delivery vehicles is also designed to minimise its impact on the environment and reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%.