Posted at 20 May 2021

Fulfilment Centre of Expertise - exploring the anatomy of a 21st century supply chain...

Paul Skade
By Richard Ludlam
Marketing Manager

Intrigued by all things engineering, as a youngster I originally looked to understand how things work then, how to make them work better.

After time in eng...

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In normal times, the subject of industrial supply chains is unlikely to set pulses racing. 

But we’re no longer living in normal times...


The Covid pandemic has stress-tested supply chains to the limit. Pre-Covid, businesses were already struggling with challenges that ranged from the Brexit hangover to ever growing geo-political instability and the long-term impacts of global warming.  For many companies, including ERIKS, these issues have been without precedent and mean that we’re all being forced to reassess the way in which we manage and future-proof our operations; in particular, the way in which we protect the supply of the parts and equipment that are critical to business continuity, productivity and profitability.

The result?  Shorter, less complex and more agile supply chains that allow companies to react quickly to global or local disruption, while enabling them to respond faster to short-term changes in demand.

With this, we’re witnessing a growing trend towards reshoring in manufacturing and logistics operations.  This is a phenomenon that prompts the question: what exactly should a 21st century industrial fulfilment centre look like to ensure flexibility, resilience and a future-proof supply chain model?

A fresh approach to industrial fulfilment

The UK is home to more than 1,500 warehouses over 100,000 ft² in size.  According to the UK Warehouse Association this equates to over 425 million square feet of space, which is dedicated primarily to retail, with around 30% of warehouse space supporting the manufacturing sector.

Most warehouses serving the industrial sector are often in old buildings, with aging infrastructure and operated in much the same way as they were five, ten or even twenty years ago, with modest levels of automation, stock control and traceability.  Beyond simply increasing stockholding, it’s been difficult for many warehouse operators – and the wider supply chain – to adapt to the new market dynamics, along with the rapidly changing needs of their industrial customers.

Today, the keys to success in industrial supply chain logistics are speed of response, an agile operation capable of flexing quickly to changing demands, combined with immediate stock availability especially of critical parts, and the ability to supply at competitive prices.  Meeting these requirements depends, in turn, on the use of modern – usually purpose built – facilities, with advanced stock handling and data management technologies.

At ERIKS, we recognised some time ago the need to develop a dynamic industrial distribution model, integrated with specialist engineering services, that truly serves the needs of our customers, from the smallest workshop to major manufacturing sites.  As a result, we’re now rolling out an ambitious investment programme in the UK, building a network model that we believe will set new standards in industrial fulfilment.

At the heart of this network will be our new UK headquarters and fulfilment centre of expertise in Oldbury, in the west Midlands.  This purpose-built facility covers over 11,000 m² and will incorporate one of the most advanced warehouse and fulfilment operations of its kind, featuring sophisticated data management technology controlling a fully automated warehouse, with systems such as secure high-level storage units linked to integrated vertical lifts and rapid transit conveyors. 

Our new Oldbury fulfilment centre will support specialised network hubs located at key locations around the UK.  Each hub will offer dedicated distribution and engineering services to meet the needs of its local market; these services range from parts kitting, coding and customisation, to motor and pump repair and refurbishment.

What it will mean to our customers

Our multi-million pound investment programme is designed to support the next phase of our business growth in the UK, as part of a strategic long-term vision.  The most important aspects of this programme are the benefits that it will bring to all our customers as they restructure their business to meet the challenges of the post-Covid world.

In brief, this means we’ll ensure we will be able to:

  • Stock the exact products you need 
  • Deliver the right products every time 
  • Supply products to you when you need them 
  • Give you end-to-end visibility 
  • Support your future growth 

If you would like to learn more about our new Oldbury Fulfilment Centre of Excellence and the journey to date, please CLICK HERE.

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