XPO Logistics is partnering with food and drink company Nestlé to create a 638,000-square-foot distribution center in Leicestershire, U.K. The warehouse, scheduled for completion in 2020, is being billed as a “digital warehouse of the future,” and will serve as a testing environment for new XPO technology before it is released globally.
The facility will be located at the SEGRO East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park, with access to the M1 motorway, East Midlands Airport (EMA) and an onsite railfreight terminal.
“The new East Midlands center will operate as both a think tank and a launch pad for XPO innovations,” said Richard Cawston, managing director of supply chain, with XPO Logistics Europe. Warehousing technology planned for the facility includes an advanced sorting system and robotics, developed between XPO and Swisslog Logistics Automation, as well as predictive data and machine learning software.
The warehouse is also designed to reduce the environmental impact of its operations, with LED lighting, environmentally friendly ammonia-based refrigeration, air source heat pumps for administration areas and rainwater harvesting.
XPO Logistics has made substantial investments during 2017 and 2018, which helped contribute to the company’s 325 percent increase, year-over-year, in net income during the first quarter. Bradley Jacobs, XPO chairman and CEO, said during the earnings call that the company sees investments in innovation as a way to “propel long-term growth,” suggesting that this digital warehouse is only a first step XPO is likely to make in introducing innovative practices and technology in its operations.