Over the last twenty years, food supply chains have fundamentally changed as the retailers demand “stock-less” processes, just-in-time ordering and pick to zero operations.
Most of NFT’s warehousing facilities are therefore designed on this basis. Research has shown that the average customer consignment size is just two pallets, so we need to be able to consolidate all of these pallets into full vehicle loads. For this, we use “hubs”, where the average dwell time of a pallet is measured in minutes, rather than hours. All of our Primary depots are designed as hubs, where product is brought in, marshalled into full retailer loads, and transhipped straight out again. To some extent, NFT is also involved in more traditional warehousing activities, and our Sainsbury-dedicated St Albans distribution centre has almost 370,000 square feet of warehousing space, operating under various different temperature regimes, and housing a wide range of products, from fresh fruit and vegetables to beers, wines and spirits. Whether they work in a hub or a distribution centre, NFT’s warehouse staff are fully trained in food hygiene and safety at work, and all of our equipment is designed to ensure that temperature and quality are carefully maintained throughout the handling of the product.