John Lewis opens £150m customer-centric distribution facility - CILT(UK)
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John Lewis opens £150m customer-centric distribution facility

14 September 2016/Categories: Industry News, Freight Forwarding, Logistics & Supply Chain, Corporate News

  • £150m investment will give fast replenishment to branches and meet needs of customers who want quick and convenient delivery and fast replenishment of branches 
  • New investment forms part of a £250m investment in John Lewis’s distribution sites and part of five-year, £500m investment plan
  • At 2.4 million sq ft, John Lewis’s Magna Park Campus is one of the biggest distribution centres in Europe
  •  By consolidating fashion and non-fashion items into one delivery, the new centre will mean 850,000 fewer parcels will be delivered each year, and 190,000 less miles will be covered by delivery vehicles
  • 500 jobs created, which will double at peak times
  • State-of-the-art, unique systems will provide fast and efficient online and shop replenishment 
In a retail industry under pressure in the face of transformational change, John Lewis has opened two world-class national distribution centres at its Magna Park campus in Milton Keynes to provide the foundation for the retailer’s omnichannel strategy.  The new facilities will allow John Lewis to fulfil its customer-focused approach to delivery, with specialist training facilities to upskill Partners. 

The new distribution centres are part of John Lewis’s anticipation of changing customer needs, which has seen the percentage of customer orders being delivered move from 4 per cent to 47 per cent in the last ten years. 

The £150 million investment in Magna Park 2 and 3 is part of a five-year, £500 million investment in its online systems and distribution network to create a customer-not-channel approach to its operations. It follows the department store’s £100m investment its existing Magna Park site, with the new sites creating 500 jobs which will double at peak times. 

To ensure customers receive the same exemplary service from John Lewis distribution Partners, Magna Park 3 houses a specialist training centre to give Partners the expert skills to safely deliver and install products from wall-mounted televisions and lighting to washing machines and flat-packed furniture. 

The building is also the national hub of the ‘two-man’ delivery, used for larger items such as sofas and white goods. Centralising this service simplifies the whole process and will allow customers to receive their orders faster than ever before by supporting next day deliveries.

For the first time, John Lewis’s Magna Park 2 campus will combine online orders for hanging and flat fashion and non-fashion items in one parcel (such as a dress and handbag, a suit and an iPad, or a jacket and moisturiser). The six level automated hanging system is capable of sorting and carrying 1.6 million garments at any one time and will be responsible for the fulfillment of circa 225,000 different products. 

As well as driving efficiencies, these facilities will also reduce operational emissions and waste. John Lewis customers will now receive an expected reduction of 850,000 parcels a year and 190,000 less miles will be covered by delivery vehicles. 

Now one of the biggest distribution centres in Europe, John Lewis’s Magna Park campus will also provide consolidated and more frequent deliveries to all 46 shops, which will receive daily replenishment deliveries as well as the Click & Collect orders. 

The new centres will set the business up for peak trading, which last year saw online sales grow by 21.4% compared to the previous year. Over the Black Friday weekend, John Lewis distribution teams processed 18% more parcels than the previous year, which equated to five units per second during the peak hour. 

Dino Rocos, operations director at John Lewis said:

“These new state-of-the-art-facilities are the latest piece in the John Lewis distribution jigsaw. Our customers expect John Lewis customer experience, not just in our shops, but at every stage of their purchase. This service-led distribution centre will ensure our Partners deliver the John Lewis magic direct to our customers’ homes.

“Not only will this also help customers receive their orders quicker and in fewer parcels, but fewer driving miles and less packaging will help reduce our operational emissions and waste.

“Our distribution operations are at the heart of our business and these advanced facilities enable us to adapt to the ever-evolving retail market. Customers want quick and convenient deliveries and fast replenishment of our shops, this investment puts us in a strong position for the years to come.” 

Other recent innovations in the John Lewis distribution network include the introduction of live chat on and text messages direct from the ‘green van fleet’ when a delivery is on its way. A hub has also been launched which provides customer service teams end-to-end visibility of customer deliveries through the whole journey and provides Partners with the information required to quickly resolve customer queries.

Magna Park 2 and 3 will work alongside Magna Park 1, a £100 million investment, which opened in 2009. 


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