Exertis Unveils $112 Million Crown Jewel National Distribution Center

The distributor has also invested millions in automation, e-commerce and becoming data-driven as part of its transformation.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

September 15, 2023

4 Min Read
Exertis National Distribution Center wide

Distributor Exertis has revealed the results of a long-term, multimillion dollar transformation.

It includes a seven-year, £90 million (US $111.5 million) investment in its crown jewel: a state-of-art U.K. National Distribution Center. It has also ploughed £25 million (US $31 million) into automation and £5 million (US $6.2 million) into its e-commerce capabilities.

Exertis posted revenues of £5.8 billion (US $7.2 billion) in 2023 and has 4900 employees across 22 countries. It is part of £22 billion ($27 billion) parent company DCC, and extended into the U.S. in 2021.

With DCC, said Exertis managing director Tim Griffin, “you’ve got a host of specialisms so we’re not looking to become a global organization like an Ingram Micro or a Tech Data. We see ourselves as a collection of businesses that specialize in particular areas of the market, which really enables us to deliver more value to your customers.”

State-of-the-Art National Distribution Center

The Distribution Center (pictured above) boasts capabilities like an SAP warehouse management system and a major pick tower. This helps Exertis execute high volume drop-ship requests to both retail and B2B customers.


Exertis’ Tim Griffin

“One of the things that you will see over time is consolidating more and more of the volume that we ship to customers through that capability,” said Griffin.

The 460,000 square foot warehouse ships 17 million units annually — a figure that reached 21 million units during the pandemic. It promises next-day delivery with a 99.56% guarantee of fulfillment.

“We do have planning permission for a further 200,000 square feet. So when we talk about sustainable growth, we have that ability to extend the operation,” said Exertis chief logistics officer Sion Wineyard.


Exertis’ Sion Wineyard

The building is supplied with renewable energy via a 65,000 square-foot solar array system. Around 3000 solar panels on the roof produce 40% of Exertis’ annual electricity consumption, reducing the distributor’s carbon emissions by 450 tonnes per year.

Meanwhile, resellers can use the self-service B2B e-commerce platform to order a bill of materials for their customers. Behind that, Exertis provides a data service to vendors that use a retailer or e-commerce platform.

“One of the challenges that the vendors have … is that they don’t know who their end-user customers are. So they need data,” said Griffin. “Enabling them to have their own direct-to-consumer websites enables us to feed them back data on who their customers are, which they then own. We’re creating for them a window on our warehouse so that we can then ship directly for them as their customers demand.”

Creating a Data Analytics Function

In its pursuit of becoming a data-driven organization, Exertis has also established a data analytics function over the last year.


Exertis’ Phillip Tuner

“The DNA of our business is becoming a lot more data-driven,” said Phillip Tuner, Exertis chief portfolio officer. He said it is an interesting transition for any organization, “because we all work off feeling and emotion and experience.”

“We’ve invested heavily in data scientists, data engineers [and] data analysts to be able to derive insights and understanding from our data sets and allow us to make efficiencies and drive those improvements in our business. We’ve built a team and that capability from scratch.

“We’re looking at areas such as procurement [and] stock management. How do we how buy the right product at the right time? How do we assess demand in the marketplace and make sure we’ve got the right availability? How do we build the algorithms and make sure that we fill a warehouse with the right products? And ultimately, take down our working capital exposure at the same time and drive growth. So we’ve got a lot of investment into analytics.”

Distribution Center: Not a Painless Journey

Griffin said the company’s ethos was based on putting its people first — followed by customers and the business.

“It may sound a little odd to be putting ourselves first. But it’s our belief that if we can have a great place to work and happy people, we’ve got a decent chance of delighting customers. Delighting customers, we might make some money.”

Griffin admitted the transformation hasn’t been a painless investment.

“It’s had more than one or two speed bumps as we’ve gone through that journey,” he said. “But today we’re delivering what I noted the best in class operational capabilities to our customers.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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