Henderson Group, the Spar wholesaler and store owner in Northern Ireland, has this week opened a new £12.5m warehouse at Mallusk just outside Belfast.
The 180,000sq ft distribution hub, which will supply 447 independent and company-owned stores it supplies across Northern Ireland, has been designed to achieve maximum efficiencies in terms of energy consumption and in speed of loading and unloading products.
Pat McGarry, logistics director of the Henderson Group, said: “We have specially designed 20m loading bays where we can move goods in and out in one place with eight new loading docks which help load double deck vehicles efficiently, as well as 31 other loading and unloading doors.
“The product layout is as close to the store layout as possible which simplifies the distribution process. The focus is on energy-saving, especially when charging mechanical handling equipment like forklifts and we have installed motion sensors which mean that all the lights don’t stay on at full power all the time unless someone is working in that area.”
The domed warehouse, which will store ambient products, is the most recently completed phase of a redevelopment scheme which will see the Henderson Group invest more than £30m in land and new buildings at its headquarters.
The first phase saw the opening of an office building at Mallusk, an investment of £3.5m, earlier this year. The next phase will involve the redevelopment of the company’s chilled and frozen distribution warehouse on the same site, another £12.5m project.
Martin Agnew, managing director of the Henderson Group, said: “Henderson Group has seen excellent growth over the last 10 to 15 years and we outgrew the site that we had. When the premises adjacent to our site became available in 2015 we purchased them and began planning and developing a completely new warehouse, one of the biggest of its kind in Northern Ireland and doubling our previous warehousing space.
“It was ideal as this location is excellent for the delivery of goods arriving from Larne and Belfast ports and has good access to 447 stores across Northern Ireland that we supply. We looked at all of the new logistics techniques being used by warehouses in the Spar International network across Europe, South Africa and China and considered what was best for us.”