Nestlé and XPO Logistics building digital warehouse of the future in the East Midlands

Food and drink company Nestlé, and XPO Logistics, provider of transport and logistics solutions, are co-creating a 638,000-square-foot distribution centre at the new SEGRO East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park in Leicestershire, UK.

The facility, a digital warehouse of the future, will be occupied predominantly by Nestlé for its consumer packaged goods and will function as a testbed environment for XPO technology prototypes prior to global release.

Example of one of the robots set to be used at Nestlé and XPO's new facility – credit: Swisslog.

The custom-designed distribution centre, scheduled to complete in 2020, will feature advanced sorting systems and robotics alongside state-of-the-art automation co-developed with Swisslog Logistics Automation. The site's digital ecosystem will integrate predictive data and intelligent machines to deliver one of the most advanced distribution management centres in the world, giving consumers faster, more efficient access to KITKAT, MAGGI, NESCAFÉ and other much-loved Nestlé brands.

The XPO-owned facility will be strategically located in the Midlands to benefit from direct access to the M1 motorway for road transport, the East Midlands Airport for cargo flights, and an onsite rail freight terminal with direct access to the major UK ports of Southampton, Felixstowe, London Gateway and the Channel Tunnel.

The facility will be sited on man-made plateaus, with landscaping to minimise the visual impact to nearby settlements. Additional sustainability measures include energy-saving LED lighting, environmentally friendly ammonia refrigeration, air source heat pumps for administration areas and rainwater harvesting.

Nestlé Director of Supply Chain David Hix said: "We are thrilled to be working with XPO Logistics to build a flagship digital warehouse and technology laboratory at the East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park. This is a world-first investment for Nestlé that builds on a century and a half of proud history in this country. Our partnership with XPO will encourage innovation and experimentation in our UK logistics operations and help futureproof our business. We will be able to be even more responsive for our customers across our brands, which include some of the most recognisable in the world."

Richard Cawston, Managing Director, Supply Chain, XPO Logistics Europe, said: "Nestlé has entrusted XPO with the digital architecture for its future vision. Together, we will create limitless opportunities to explore new technologies in a state-of-the-art logistics environment. The new East Midlands centre will operate as both a think tank and a launch pad for XPO innovations, with far-reaching impacts on the way business is done. We look forward to an inventive collaboration with Nestlé."

Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, said: "This is excellent news for North West Leicestershire and the wider East Midlands economy. That two global giants – Nestlé and XPO – should choose to locate their new state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable facility here shows that this region is a great place for businesses to invest. It's very positive for the development of our local economy."

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