Our First Field Trip: Argos’ National Distribution Centre
Hi everyone, my name is Hathaichanok Wanichodom, and you can just called me Nok if that’s easier for you! I’m one of the Communication Reps in the red stream for the MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management programme in Cranfield University – School of Management. Along with the other reps, I will also be sharing my experience with you guys during the 2015/16 academic year. I hope you will enjoy my blog!
Two weeks have passed since the start of the course. It has been quite busy everyday as there are lots of readings and studies that keep me occupied. However, one of the many benefits of being a Cranfield logistics student is that the course ever so practical. As a result of this, the group I was allocated in had the chance to visit Argos’ warehouse last Thursday. I had to say it was such an exciting experience for me.
To be exact, the warehouse is actually a National Distribution Center (NDC) that stocks up a wide range of products. And these products will be distributed and delivered directly to end customers, so to say to our front doors.
Even though I’m saying it’s Argos’ NDC, but DHL is the company who actually operates it. Argos has been using DHL’s service in warehouse management and fleets for a long time. What really amazed me was the sense of belonging of DHL’s staffs to Argos; they work committedly for Argos as if it’s their own company. Also, Argos’ staffs blended in well with them. Basically, they have great collaboration going on and this is what enables them to work smoothly and satisfying customers’ needs.
After putting on safety vests, we were ready to roll. The staffs took us around the NDC and explained their processes and operations to us. The NDC operates 24/7 and has approximately 200 employees with around 50 electric forklifts.
To my surprise, the NDC is very labor intensive. From inbound supplies to outbound deliveries, loading inbound inventories onto pallets, putting them away in racks, retrieving them, and loading them up to containers for deliveries; each task requires labors to complete them (I originally thought it’d be more automated; but the warehouse was so well organized, neat, and clean).
We spent quite a while in the warehouse, observing and learning. After that we returned to the meeting room to sum up our visits. We bombarded the staffs with our endless questions, but they were very nice and eager to answer.
I’ve learnt many things, and I’m very thankful for this wonderful opportunity. I’m hoping that there’ll be more chances to visit companies like this in the future!
That’s it for this week. Hope you enjoy the blog. See you again next time! 🙂
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Great post Nok. I was with the group too and I think it is really interesting to see how different business manage their DCs based on the product profiles and demands. There is no 1 size that fits all and across the 3 visits so far the level of automation was very different, use of a 3PL or not as it has to fit with their business strategy. Very useful learning for everyone to reflect on.