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Ocado and Nilfisk - distribution success

Published 1st August, 2018 by Neil Nixon

Ocado and Nilfisk - distribution success

Simon Morrison, service manager for the Ocado Distribution Centre in Dordon, explains how his partnership with Nilfisk has revolutionised his cleaning regimes.

The Ocado Distribution Centre in Dordon, Warwickshire opened in 2012 at a cost of £210 million pounds. The facility extends to 350,000 square feet and fulfils over 200,000 orders a week. With 2700 employees and only two closure days per year it is clear that managing the cleaning requirements is a considerable challenge. The state-of-the-art facility services 86% of UK postcodes and is fully automated with three mezzanine floors.

Online grocery sales growth

The British population buys more food online than any other country in the world. Leading market intelligence agency, Mintel, estimates online grocery sales at over £11 billion in 2017. At £9.9 billion in 2016 it is clear that growth is rapid and set to continue, particularly with the younger digital generation. Current predictions put online food sales at £16.7 billion by the year 2021.

The cleaning challenge

The vast distribution centre includes a variety of floor types, surfaces and areas to be cleaned on a daily basis. Narrow pick aisles present a real challenge as they need to be cleaned quickly within break periods.

There are also carpeted areas within offices to consider, tiled surfaces and large floor areas that need to be cleaned quickly to avoid despatch delays. Efficiency improvements within such a busy site impact the bottom line substantially. No stone can be left unturned when it comes to improving productivity, reducing costs and maintaining hygiene standards.

The reliability of cleaning equipment is paramount within an environment such as ours. Previously we had three ride on scrubber dryers, one or two of which were regularly out of service. The cost of maintenance was very high and down time regularly slowed down output and reduced standards.

After initial discussions with Nilfisk, and a series of demonstrations, I presented a business case to the management team justifying the purchase of a complete new fleet. Within one week of arrival the floor surfaces were excellent, almost as good as new. Cleaning regimes were completed much faster and there was far less pull on staff resources. I am extremely pleased with the cleaning equipment which cleans the following areas within the facility:

Pick aisles: Multiple SC2000 micro scrubber dryers have had the biggest impact on the cleaning of the narrow pick aisles. These aisles need to be cleaned quickly in a rest period and previously the staff were struggling with unwieldy pedestrian models. The 53cm machine has a working speed of 6 km/hr as opposed to around 4 km/hr for a walk behind. Thanks to a low noise vac motor system the unit is very quiet, only registering a noise level of 62 dBA. The staff particularly like them because they are fast and easy, there is plenty of room for the operator's legs and the solution flow of water and detergent is automatically controlled by the speed of the machine.

Under workstations: The compact SC351 scrubber dryers have a rotating deck which allows them to clean in both forward and reverse mode. What makes them really effective, however, is the huge down pressure of 27kg. This means that they clean quickly in high traffic areas where historically the cleaning staff took much longer. They really are little powerhouses and fit easily underneath work units and shelving.

Main walkways: The BR652 is the larger ride-on that we use for the main walkways across the site. The machine has an 80 litre solution and recovery tank meaning that fill ups are much reduced and productivity is greatly improved. The unit features a patented sliding scrub deck and innovative squeegee solution that removes the need for side skirts. We opted for the Ecoflex system which provides a flexible detergent setting and water only cleaning function which has reduced our chemical cost considerably.

Toilets, canteens and hard edges: A heavy duty industrial steam cleaner, the SDV8000 gives us the power we need in the busy toilet areas, canteens and hard edges around the site. With steam pressure up to 8 bar and an excellent wet pick up recovery, it provides for a safe and hygienic result killing up to 99% of known pathogens.

Carpeted offices: With such a large team of people our carpeted office areas receive high levels of footfall. We know from experience that carpets in that environment can have a short life and replacing them is very disruptive to the operation. The objective therefore was to maintain a clean result but also extend the life of the carpets. The ES300 commercial carpet machine removes dirt and water well leaving the floors surprisingly dry. Its compact design and large wheels make it easy to store and move around.

Service delivery

After my experience with the previous fleet I really wanted the security of a full service contract. Planned maintenance is very important for other equipment on the site and I could not see why cleaning machines should be any different. We took out a five year full premium contract which fixes my monthly costs and protects the budget from any nasty surprises. The service delivery has been excellent to date with no negative feedback from the floor.

Our relationship with the Nilfisk team both pre and post-sale really cannot be faulted. They are the experts without a doubt, providing the right equipment for the right environment. From the start I received clear advice with no sales pitch, the attitude and professionalism is totally refreshing.

The impact of the new fleet has been very favourable and certainly greater than expected in all respects. I would recommend anyone in a similar position to myself to seriously consider a new fleet.

Nilfisk is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial and industrial cleaning equipment. No obligation site surveys and demonstrations are available across the UK.

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