Albert Heijn and Norbert Dentressangle have signed a memorandum of understanding for a new fresh center. They have thus established a long-term partnership to realize a major Shared Fresh Center (SFC) that will service more than 900 Albert Heijn stores. This new joint SFC for suppliers and Albert Heijn will be managed by Norbert Dentressangle. Its realization will ensure that a large volume of fresh products will find their way to shelves more rapidly and efficiently. The SFC will be centrally located in Nieuwegein and is expected to become operational in Q2 2015.
Last year, Albert Heijn announced its intention to speed up the supply chain for a large number of fresh products, including deli products, cheese, salads, meat, fish, convenience meals, fresh juices and pastries. Recent years have seen the number of Albert Heijn stores grow together with the number of fresh products they stock. In light of this development, the fresh supply chain needs to be optimized in order to create opportunities for future growth, and to have these products reach the stores in an even fresher state. For this reason, Albert Heijn decided last year to start working with Shared Fresh Centers (SFCs)., to which suppliers can transport their products directly after production. This will reduce the number of stock points and transportation, and make it possible to deliver fresh products to stores sooner. In addition, stores will receive these products grouped according to category, making it easier for employees to stock shelves. Fast running fresh products, such as fruit and vegetables, have not been included in this project as their distribution processes have already been optimized.
In due course, the new SFCs will replace the current National Fresh Centers in Nieuwegein and Utrecht. Albert Heijn’s employees at the National Fresh Centers have been promised job security and a social plan has been agreed with the unions.
Norbert Dentressangle is a specialist in the field of logistics services and is well known to Albert Heijn, having operated the retailer’s warehouses for frozen and non-food products for many years now. Norbert Dentressangle considers retail logistics as one of its core activities and its operations include more than 80 temperature-controlled distribution centers throughout Europe.
“The fresh products department is the pride of our stores,” says Sander van der Laan, CEO of Albert Heijn. “We are pleased to be working with a very experienced logistics service provider. This collaboration will enable us to offer our customers even fresher products in our stores.”
CEO of Norbert Dentressangle, Hervé Montjotin, comments, “We are delighted that Albert Heijn has selected us as its fresh logistics partner for the SFC in Nieuwegein. It shows confidence in our strong expertise in both the retail industry sector and temperature-controlled logistics. This agreement is fully in line with our ambition to become a leading supply chain management partner that is able to collaborate with clients on their strategic development.”