Ocado to re-open customer fulfilment centre 2 years after Andover fire

Ocado has confirmed that its new customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in Andover is scheduled to open on time in Autumn 2021, two years after it was destroyed by a devastating fire.

The online supermarket said the rebuild of the high-tech robotics facility, which began in February 2019, has been able to continue despite lockdown regulations and is on schedule.

Ocado said the shell build is now complete and only the external yard and access works need to be finished to achieve practical completion of the construction phase.

It added that the internal Material Handling Equipment (MHE) and IT fit out is underway and that employees will be in the offices shortly.

The announcement said the new CFC will be 217,000 square foot (compared with 225,000 for the previous site) and will cater for up to 59,000 deliveries per week for Ocado Retail - a 50/50 joint venture between Ocado and Marks & Spencer - when at peak capacity.

The original CFC opened in December 2016, and Ocado said it still provides the format for the new facilities they have built and are currently building globally.

Ocado also said the new Andover site will benefit from the latest Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) technology and there will also be more efficient utilisation of the building itself and plot for delivery operation.

New additions will include a large acoustic barrier around the site to limit noise emissions and ecological improvements such as bird boxes, bat boxes and dormice habitats, the supermarket said.

Ocado added that they have continued to support local charities via prize donations and that they are looking forward to more engagement with the community in the future.

“I am so proud of everyone at Ocado Group that has come together and put such a huge amount of time, effort and love into the last two years of rebuilding the Andover CFC,” said Matt Whitwell, General Manager, Ocado Group. “I would like to thank all my colleagues who have contributed to a project unlike any other, and a special mention to those in Delivery Operations who have continued to serve the local area throughout this time.”

“There is a huge emotional connection for so many of us returning to Andover seeking to capture the magic of what we had before, as well as improving our employee experience and operational effectiveness, wherever we can.”

He added: “We are almost there, and we cannot wait to open our doors and send out the first orders later in the year.”

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