The Belron® Group celebrates the official opening of their largest distribution centre in Bilzen, Belgium.
07 May 2019
Belron officially opened its new European Distribution Centre (EDC) in Bilzen, Belgium today. The 43,000m2 distribution centre is the largest distribution warehouse of its kind in the world, holding 300,000 windscreens and six million parts and accessories. The formal opening was the culmination of a four year programme to strengthen Belron’s supply chain network.
1.2 million pieces of vehicle glass and 22 million different accessories are supplied to most of Belron’s European operations annually from this strategic location, as well as all technical tools and repair related products supplied to the whole group across the world.
The purpose built site enables Belron to deliver world class service levels to branches and mobile technicians across Europe and to the rest of the world supplying them with the right glass, accessories and tools. The Centre manages deliveries from over 300 suppliers and most orders received by 17:00 can be delivered within 8 hours to around 800 branches.
The new facility is not just a fantastic logistics achievement for Belron because it consolidated five existing separate operations under one roof. 97% of employees moved across to the new location meaning that Belron retained the expertise of their people and as a result outbound service delivery performance was maintained, running at 99% orders shipped after just two weeks. “This is an outstanding achievement” explains Tim Berx, Supply Chain Director. “The centre underlines our commitment to being a great place to work and I am so incredibly proud of the team that we have in Bilzen whose hard work and dedication has enabled us to get where we are today. Bringing all the people together in one place and all working in the same direction. I could not have asked more from anyone and the success of this centre is down to everyone here. Our programme was called “To Get There Together” and that is really what we have done”.
The purpose built building was designed with people and the environment in mind. 230 people work 24 hours a day, five days a week so making it a great place to work was the key priority. “A great deal is being invested in innovative work processes for the benefit of employees' well-being” explained Tim Berx, “Our employees have always been our greatest asset. We wanted to be able to guarantee them the most optimal working environment”.
Reducing the environmental impact of the business was also a key driver for the new EDC from where it was located to how it was built. Sustainability solutions have been incorporated including 14,000m2 of solar panels and 422 light catchers have been installed to provide natural light and energy. 1,500 annual truck journeys have already been saved by centralizing the operations in one place, easing local traffic congestion and in combination with other activities, CO2 emissions have been reduced by 20% and close proximity to the sea Belron has been able to take advantage of barges for inbound transportation from Antwerp and Rotterdam, further taking traffic off the roads. Every piece of broken glass from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and Switzerland is returned to Bilzen and recycled along with all wood and plastic too.
The state of the art complex also accommodates the Belron Quality Centre of Excellence which invests heavily in new innovative operational processes and applications that improve the quality of service provided by Belron branches worldwide. The new EDC which has been operational for around nine months has already won a host of awards.
Commenting on the opening, Gary Lubner, Belron Group Chief Executive, said: “I am extremely excited to mark the opening of the Bilzen Centre. It is a key milestone as we can now support the majority of our European customers from a single distribution site. It plays an essential role in enabling us to meet our customer demand and deliver our service. However, in planning this building it was always about our people and how we could make a difference for them by creating a great place to work. We also wanted to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. This innovative centre will deliver long lasting and positive effects and will help to make Belron fit for the future.”