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Tamebay warehouse visit: Hermes Rugby

By Sasha Fedorenko September 30, 2019 - 12:55 pm

Based in the East Midlands and sitting pretty much at the very heart of England, the famous ‘Golden Triangle of Logistics’ has continued to attract investment from the logistics sector for decades due to its excellent connectivity. In close proximity to the M1, the M6 and the M69, as well as being served by the M40, it provides the perfect strategic location for home delivery companies who place emphasis on speed and convenience.

Two weeks ago saw Tamebay visiting Hermes Rugby warehouse, which put down roots within the Triangle – materialising their growth ambition in August 2017 when they officially opened their Midlands Super Hub at the Rugby Gateway in Warwickshire, incorporating two fully-automated sortation tiers manufactured by Beumer.

We were welcomed to the hub by Jon Ormond, operations director of Hermes, who toured us through the space of 270,000 square feet. The flagship hub, which cost £31 million, remains the biggest of its kind in Europe. Following on from the completion of the company’s huge distribution facility in Warrington in 2013, the Rugby hub was built to further strengthen operations in light of several successive years of growth – and was originally designed to handle approximately one million parcels every day.

However, despite sanctioning the most substantial investment in Hermes history to date, the senior team at Hermes had the foresight to make the hub future proof, which included the capability to add a third sortation tier – a process that has just been completed ahead of the upcoming peak. The £16m project enhances existing output by 40% with the capability to process 1.35 million parcels each day.

Speaking to Jon Ormond, operations director of Hermes about the decision behind choosing Rubgy as a location for expansion, he attributed the move to the efficiency of transport links. “Rugby was an obvious location for Hermes as we looked to invest in our network and boost capacity. However, due to our rapid growth, we knew we had to put plans in place that would allow us to quickly scale up even further – and that is why we took the decision to leave necessary space so we could eventually construct a third sortation tier. After another highly successful peak season in 2017, we decided to push ahead with the third tier.”

“This additional investment of £16 million brings the total outlay to £47 million, but what is clear is that we now possess the largest, most efficient parcel distribution facility in the UK, if not Europe. This demonstrates our commitment to retailers who are continuing to invest heavily in ecommerce.”

The installation of the high specification sortation tier – once again manufactured by Beumer – has taken place over the past 12 months, overseen by the company’s in house engineering team who ensured that the hub has remained fully operational. The new tier can sort 22,973 items per hour which increase the hub’s hourly total to 68,919 items per hour. It measures over 1.1kms in length, incorporates 480 tonnes of steelwork, features 1,942 trays, and is powered by 41kms of electrical wiring. Scales measure the dimension and check the weight of every parcel whilst also checking for any damages.

Commenting on the completion of the third tier, Martijn de Lange, CEO of Hermes UK, said: “I’m absolutely confident the third sortation tier in Rugby will put us in the strongest possible position to further support the retail industry over the coming years.”

“For the last few years, we have witnessed double-digit growth due to our commitment to investing in our world-class network and infrastructure, our innovative fleet and our industry-leading portfolio of services solutions. In addition, our in-house engineering team is constantly optimising our equipment to ensure it is best in class and we will soon be introducing further automation to support our returns process in the coming months.”

However, Hermes’ investment extends beyond sortation tiers – with the company also enhancing their fleet of vehicles that serves the hub on a daily basis. Following an initial 12-month trial of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles with CNG Fuels – the only UK supplier of Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) approved biomethane – Hermes initially ordered 30 Iveco Stralis CNG units, which were integrated into the fleet over the following months. This was the largest opening order of CNG tractor units from any UK company.

Hermes have now pushed ahead with stage two of their investment, which has seen the number of CNG vehicles within their fleet rise to 72. This number will grow to 78 before the peak season later this year. The vehicles are refuelled at Hermes’ Warrington hub and at third party stations in Leyland and Daventry.

Each of these vehicles reduces CO2 emissions by over 80% vs a comparable diesel Euro 6 vehicle, resulting in a reduction of around 150 tons of CO2 per vehicle per year and a reduction of 11,700 tons of CO2 across the 78 CNG vehicle fleet per annum. Other benefits of the CNG vehicles include 70% less NOX, 99% less particulate matter, 90% less NMHC and 88% less methane.

The countdown to Black Friday and Christmas 2019 is already on and industry commentators are already predicting record sales and volumes, despite low consumer confidence throughout the year. As a result, logistics companies have a responsibility to support their retail clients by increasing their capacity – and it is clear that Hermes is just doing that, both within their hubs and on the roads.

  • That is a great accolade “the largest, most efficient parcel distribution facility in the UK, if not Europe.”

    We do not use Hermes ourselves, however their quote was very competitive and in my personal experience in our home town their service levels appear to have improved so much. Often our ebay purchases are delivered via a regular driver and we never (touch wood) have any problems.

    Sounds like a good day out to see something most impressive and yes a good location logistically.

  • Toby
    2 months ago

    All very good, but if only they could invest in their delivery drivers…. found a parcel this morning, thrown over my fence… not sure how long it had been there as not for me. Ironically the other size of the fence is a big number plaque stating number 12…. the parcel was addressed to number 16. It is wet, muddy and ruined. No card through the door either.
    So fancy hubs are great…. but no good if people like me who run businesses prefer not to inflict such shoddy deliveries on our customers. Not the first time, definately won’t be the last.

  • 2 months ago

    Like Toby, I am not impressed with their delivery service. Yesterday we found a parcel in our recycling bin, which was due to be emptied today.

    I have to ask myself, is that were I want them putting my deliveries?

    When we looked, a card had been put through the door but had gone behind the shoe rack. Whilst I understand that is not thei fault, what if I had been away for a couple of days?

    • Rob
      2 months ago

      Tyler, I don’t mind deliveries being left in the recycling bin as it is safe and only goes out on bin day. What works for one person does not for the next. There is definitely not a one size fits all approach.
      I have a second ebay store to get rid of all the damaged stock. I have offered MyHermes £3 RM signed for 2nd class £4 and UPS £5. Every single person so far has picked Hermes

    • 2 months ago

      @Rob It works for you until the time your customer is disappointed and it is only safe until the bin men empty it OR somebody decides to place something in your bin and walks off with it. Depending on where you live, like a terraced street, somebody may see the item placed in the bin and steal it.

      Regardless of the above, it shows a mentality and that is that they can leave items anywhere they choose, as long as they are able to get rid of them, as Toby found out above. Would you have been happy with his delivery?

      Had you have asked me the question of which is the most popular delivery choice from customers, I could have told you the £3 option without knowing who it was. And hardly a fair comparison considering the difference in price.

      And why does it need to be RM signed for? eBay are currently defending cases delivered with the RM 2d bar code.

    • Rob
      2 months ago

      Tyler, like I mentioned before what works for one person does not work for the next. I could argue what about the customer who wanted something delivered on that day, missed the postman and has to then go to the sorting office the next day to get the parcel. If Hermes leave it in a safe place they then get the parcel without the hassle of having to go to a sorting office.
      I prefer a parcel left in my recycling bin as opposed to a 30 minute round trip to the sorting office.
      All the couriers are name so if it that important that an item is not left outside, thrown over the fence or left in the bin on bin day then I don’t think £1 extra for RM or £2 extra for UPS is all that much.
      Like most people they want everything free, yet when you break it down and they have to pay for things people don’t want to.

    • 2 months ago

      @Rob I doubt that the people choosing Hermes were doing opn the understanding that an item would be left anywhere, like over the fence in Toby’s case, if they were out. Unless you indicated that to them, which I doubt?

      So the majority of people paid the £3 to have a delivery as it was the cheaper option and lets face it, they are already buying a cheaper damaged item, so why pay more?

      When I choose to have an item delivered I expect it to be delivered to my home, either though the letterbox or handed over. I will accept that they may leave it with a neighbour but I do not accept that they can put in my dustbin or through it over the fence.

      If you are out then you can choose a redelivery to suit yourself, if you need it in a hurry then I expect you would wait in for it.

      I would not want my parcels delivered in that manner.

    • Rob
      2 months ago

      You can choose with Hermes to have your parcel left in a safe place, like porch, shead, greenhouse or left with a neighbour. Last time I checked RM don’t offer any of this. They also don’t give a delivery window like Hermes get with a two hour window. Are they perfect no, but I don’t think any courier is.
      The problem is customers are not in when parcels are delivered. If couriers were to try and keep delivering they would need a lorry to drive around with all the parcels.
      So the courier you use with your business guarantees all parcels are handed over to customers or left with a neighbour if to large to post? If so would be interested to know what courier you use?

    • 2 months ago

      @Rob I doubt many customers would choose to have their parcels left in the rubbish bin or thrown over the hedge.

      I use Royal Mail and I believe they do have a “safe place” option, but that is between the customer and RM. Overall am very happy with their service, but are they perfect no!

      RM do not KEEP trying to deliver, you notify them of a day that is good for you and your item is delivered on that day.

      However, if people on here were saying that a RM postie had left items in a rubbish bin or thrown them over the hedge I would not be defending them as though it was ok.

      Spot the difference?

  • Courier
    2 months ago

    Don’t expect too much from delivery drivers who have to try to deliver three times for as little as a total of 50p. You want cheap deliveries but you don’t want to deal with the consequences

    • 2 months ago

      @Courier No excuse for not doing their job correctly.

      I don’t expect too much from the delivery drivers, I expect a good service from the delivery company I contract with.

      I had a part delivery from DHL on Friday, that was on a next day service, I spent an hour holding on the phone, after speaking with somebody that contacted my local depot they said they had upgraded it to a Saturday delivery, nothing turned up. Let down again!

      I have come to expect this from DHL.

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