John Lewis ramps up Magna Park operations
John Lewis has opened two national distribution centres at its Magna Park campus in Milton Keynes to provide the foundation for its omnichannel strategy. The new distribution centres are part of John Lewis’s strategy of anticipating changing customer needs and being ready to cope with more home deliveries.
In a statement sent to Post&Parcel today (6 September) John Lewis said it has seen the percentage of customer orders being delivered move from 4% to 47% in the last ten years.
The £150m investment in Magna Park 2 and 3 is part of a five-year, £500 million investment in its online systems and distribution network to create what John Lewis described as a “customer-not-channel approach” to its operations. It follows the department store’s £100m investment its existing Magna Park site, Magna Park 1, which opened in 2009.
The Magna Park 3 facility houses a specialist training centre which trains Partners (John Lewis staff) the skills to deliver and install products such as wall-mounted televisions, washing machines and flat-packed furniture.
The building is also the national hub of the ‘two-man’ delivery, used for larger items such as sofas and white goods.
For the first time, John Lewis’s Magna Park 2 campus will combine online orders for hanging and flat fashion and non-fashion items in one parcel (such as a dress and handbag, a suit and an iPad, or a jacket and moisturiser). This obviously increases the convenience for the consumer, and it will also bring some major operational benefits for John Lewis – and help to eliminate waste.
John Lewis calculates that its customers will now receive an expected reduction of 850,000 parcels a year and 190,000 less miles will be covered by delivery vehicles.
The six level automated hanging system is capable of sorting and carrying 1.6m garments at any one time and will be responsible for the fulfilment of around 225,000 different products.
Already one of the biggest distribution centres in Europe, John Lewis’s Magna Park campus will also provide consolidated and more frequent deliveries to all 46 shops, which will receive daily replenishment deliveries as well as the Click & Collect orders.
The new centres will set the business up for peak trading, which last year saw online sales grow by 21.4% compared to the previous year. Over the Black Friday weekend, John Lewis distribution teams processed 18% more parcels than the previous year, which equated to five units per second during the peak hour.
Dino Rocos, operations director at John Lewis, said: “These new state-of-the-art-facilities are the latest piece in the John Lewis distribution jigsaw. Our customers expect John Lewis customer experience, not just in our shops, but at every stage of their purchase. This service-led distribution centre will ensure our Partners deliver the John Lewis magic direct to our customers’ homes.
“Not only will this also help customers receive their orders quicker and in fewer parcels, but fewer driving miles and less packaging will help reduce our operational emissions and waste.
“Our distribution operations are at the heart of our business and these advanced facilities enable us to adapt to the ever-evolving retail market. Customers want quick and convenient deliveries and fast replenishment of our shops, this investment puts us in a strong position for the years to come.”