Lantmännen Unibakes’ factory burned to the ground barely a few weeks after they took possession of their built-to-suit distribution centre in Londerzeel. Last year, the 2015 black spot led to a silver lining when Lantmännen won the Factory of the Future Award at the beginning of March 2018. According to Operations Director Hendrik Decock, it was a triumph that was also thanks to the high-tech and sustainable warehouse proving to be unfaltering.
In the heart of Europe
‘We first satisfied our need to expand our warehouse in Londerzeel in 2013, where our Vienna series, bake-off products, and hamburger buns are stored,’ said Hendrik. ‘That warehouse had space for 12,000 pallet spots. Of course, we first looked at the site next to our factory. Londerzeel is located in Belgium’s golden triangle and the heart of Europe. So, it’s ideal for delivering products to the West-European market and customers in Australia, South Africa, Asia, and the United States. We collaborated with WDP on the design of the Unibake Distribution Centre (UDC) that would serve as a buffer warehouse and rapid distribution centre.’
An efficient and sustainable distribution centre
‘Today, the UDC has a floor space of 8,500 m² with enough room for 28,500 pallet spots. Replenishment and packing are completely automatic, which optimises the placement of materials on pallets, ensures a quick delivery time, and makes our inventory management more efficient. We store all products at -28 °C to safeguard constant quality. And the refrigeration occurs as efficiently and sustainably as possible. Yet one of the greatest assets of the distribution centre is the bridge to the factory where we currently save on 5,000 lorries for intermediate transport. This saves on transport costs and we emit less CO2.’
Collaboration with WDP
‘WDP helped us at the beginning to find a suitable solution for our needs. When collaborating with us they considered sustainable solutions and the building layout, which was a good basis for the 20-year rental agreement. But above all, WDP proved enormously cooperative when we suddenly had to change direction when we lost the factory due to fire. While our main site was being rebuilt, WDP worked with us to find options for a brand-new warehouse. Without a doubt, it’s that flexibility that contributed to our quick come back!’