New warehouse eases spring peak

Electric reach trucks with a “blue spot” safety light noiselessly zoom around the warehouse. On October 1st 2019, the brand-new warehouse of BVB Substrates in De Lier opened for use. The building can hold over 10,000 pallets. Garden centres, DIY centres and retailers can count on smooth delivery of clean pallets of potting soil during the spring peak.

In spring there’s not only a peak in sales to professional growers, but consumers like to get their garden ready around that time as well. In this article we tell you a little more about the retail side of our business and the logistics around it.

Warehouse BVB Substrates

The plans for this warehouse date back years, but finally became a reality in 2019, explains Armand Veenman, Director Sales & Operations Planning. Thanks to his expertise in planning, he was involved in the team that configured the building.
‘We pack around 30 million bags of potting soil under the BVB Substrates brand in the Netherlands, most of which is supplied by Veenbaas in Drachten. This is mainly sold to stores and warehouses selling to consumers. In De Lier around six million bags are involved. This warehouse means we can keep more stock here, utilise space better, streamline our production and delivery planning, and supply a better quality end product.’

Clean, easy and fast

Customers will definitely notice the improvements. Firstly, the pallets delivered are clean because they have been kept indoors. ‘That’s quite unique within the sector. Because the pallets are stored indoors, they are protected from the sun. The colour of the packaging will stay nice and fresh. The wooden pallets also remain intact and clean as any weather and wind influences are excluded.’

There are also added benefits for logistic efficiency as the extra capacity means transporters can collect their entire load from one address. If the driver uses the digital login portal, he will be allocated a time slot to pick up the order. This way he can pick it up immediately on arrival at the warehouse. ‘That saves customers valuable time. And we can get work done ahead as we have two order picking points for each of the five loading docks. Order picking is done efficiently using smart shuttles.’

Traceable to pallet level

Implementing a new Warehouse Management System has now ensured that the space in the warehouse is optimally utilised. This system also safeguards the traceability of the pallets. ‘Each pallet is marked with a SSCC label, a standard identification system used by retailers. This label consists of a product code, production batch and the pallet number. Every time the pallet is handled this barcode is scanned. This informs the customer precisely which pallet is being taken to which of the customer’s locations. If anything is wrong with a batch, we can track it down immediately.’

Value adding services

The warehouse has another nice touch. Above the order picking area, a special room has been dedicated to value adding services. This is where we can show pallets with presentation and display material. ‘Some customers want a range of different products on one pallet. A display like this creates recognisability and good point of sale presentation.’ So now we are fully prepared for spring, when consumers throughout the Netherlands and Belgium feel the urge to start brightening up their balconies and gardens. Veenman: ‘Bring on the spring peak, we are ready.’

Warehouse storage BVB Substrates

Facts & figures

Anually 6,000,000 bags of potting soil are packed under the
BVB Substrates brand at our facilities in De Lier.
That equals 100,000 pallets.
The new warehouse has the capacity to store 10,000 at once.
The warehouse covers 5,000 M2 and is 15 M high.
6 smart shuttles make order picking easy.
The warehouse has 5 loading docks and
3 reach trucks.