On Tuesday, 24th January, CILT members were given a tour of Aldi’s regional distribution centre in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork. The event was organised by CILT’s Southern Section and was well attended with members present from all CILT regions.
On arrival at the 13-hectare Aldi site, institute members were welcomed by the hosts and given a short overview of the distribution centre’s history and its importance to Aldi’s expansion in Ireland. Following H&S formalities, those attending were given an entertaining and informative tour of the ambient, chill and freezer warehouses of the distribution centre.
As the tour progressed through the vast 60,000sq m low rise facility, the energy saving automatic lighting followed their path, illuminating products while at the same time systematically positioned to optimise assembly performance and vehicle loads utilisation. Stopping at different locations along the way, guide Andre Du Plessis discussed operational procedures and practices and answered members’ questions.
The work of the order pickers was of particular interest as they travel throughout the facility on state of the art assembly trucks using voice activation to gather orders accurately and efficiently. Once collected these orders were then provided to one of the seventy vehicle loading bays. They are then shipped to their respective stores by one of Aldi’s preferred transport partners. From this base in Mitchelstown, Aldi services stores daily in Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Clare, Mayo, Galway, Kilkenny and Wexford, with some of the larger stores receiving multiple deliveries.
Vehicle utilisation is one of many KPI targets monitored by Aldi’s transport department and every effort is made to ensure no vehicle leaves without its full complement of pallets. The accuracy of voice directed picking allows Aldi stores to check receipts by just counting the number of pallets which greatly improves vehicle turnaround at stores.
The tour also visited the chill warehouse where they observed orders being assembled for that night’s despatches and the freezer warehouse which at temperatures of -25 °C is where Aldi keep all their frozen food before transportation.
Finally Andre, the guide, led the group back to a warmer part of the centre where there was a Q&A session and some welcome refreshments. CILT Southern Section chairperson, Grainne Lynch, also made a presentation to the hosts and thanked them for a very informative evening at Aldi’s Regional Distribution Centre, Mitchelstown