Nisa-Today’s has confessed that its newly launched 625,000 sq ft ambient distribution centre in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, has been plagued with greater difficulties than expected.
The organisation expressed disappointment at current service levels and delivery schedules, saying some retailers had received orders two days later than expected. Just when difficulties looked like being resolved, the depot was swamped by orders from retailers seeking to redress shortfalls in deliveries, thereby perpetuating problems, admitted Nisa-Today’s group commercial director Neil Turton.
“Order volumes are being allocated on a fair share basis for all members, taking into account the available
capacity the warehouse can handle,” said Turton in an e-mail sent to retailers this week. He added that the allocation process would continue at least until the end of next week in an effort to catch up on outstanding deliveries. “We think it will now be at least two more weeks until we get back to normal and our service level in that time will be below our normal standards.”
He attributed some problems to “gremlins in processes and systems that have affected productivity on picking”.
Turton told The Grocer that Nisa-Today’s was doing its best to resolve retailers’ frustrations over some deliveries being made without delivery notes. “If nothing else, I’d like you to know the management are not being arrogant about the issues and are trying to get on top of them before Christmas trading.”
He added that the depot had succeeded in delivering more than one million cases of product each week to retailers since it opened.
But despite attempts by Nisa-Today’s to stay in constant contact with retailers, some remain dismayed at the situation. “We received deliveries scheduled for Friday on Sunday and the number of orders we’re short is atrocious,” said one. “They are not far off 30% not being delivered. Unless this is corrected now, this is going to carry on into Christmas.”
However, David Sands, MD of The Grocer Top 50 chain David Sands, said that it was vital to look at the wider picture and that more patience was required from retailers. “There has been bad publicity and as a member I am concerned, but Nisa has created the biggest ambient warehouse in the UK, which will have huge advantages for the group. Costs are going to be lowered.”
The distribution centre, which opened at the end of October, failed the company on its first day of operation, with many retailers receiving no deliveries in the first 24 hours.
Separately, Nisa-Today’s has signed a deal with Kewill to implement Kewill-Inovis software to manage data exchange with retailers.
Rod Addy