Logistics Middle East


Bhushant J. Gandhi, divisional manager, Retail & Food Service, Truebell tells Logistics Middle East about its 25,000 square metre purpose-build facility


Bhushant J. Gandhi, divisional manager, Retail & Food Service, Truebell tells Logistics Middle East about its 25,000 square metre purpose-build facility

In 2018, Truebell opened its 25,000 square metre purpose-built facility, which is equippedwi­thstate-of-the-artstorage solutions, and energy-eñcient machinery, as well as featuring over 700 square metres of green space.

The facility boasts cutting-edge technology in warehouse and fleet management systems, including over 20 different types of specialise­d material-handling equipment, 21 multipurpo­se loading bays, and has the capacity to receive over 7,000 containers annually. It also houses a test kitchen and bakery stocked with equipment suitable for creating new products.

Comprising multi-temperatur­e storage, the fulfilment centre can accommodat­e up to 21,000 storage locations made up of frozen, chilled and dry food, as well as non-food retail items.

Meticulous­ly planned to have the highest efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint for an operation of this magnitude, the new distributi­on centre comprises various stand-out features which contribute to it being the first of its kind in the region, according to Bhushant J. Gandhi, divisional manager, Retail & Food Service, Truebell. These include:

• Storage solutions – The main storage solution features aisles with a width (pallet to pallet) of 1,660m. The aisle width is the narrowest in the world and requires high levels of precision to operate. • High-speed doors – These doors are controlled with machine sensitive sensors with separate doors for man entry. The high-speed doors used for the freezer department are made of panels. This again is a first for the region and not only helps us to ensure better insulation but increases our efficiency. • MHEs - This is the first time, man-up order pickers with a 1.2 metre lift height have been used in a distributi­on centre in this part of the world. Similarly, it is the first time insulated cabin VNA reach trucks have been used. This type of equipment helps ensure maximum productivi­ty by facilitati­ng non-stop operations in the freezer department for long durations. • Check-out counters for dispatch – All deliveries will be made through touch screen check-out counters – again another first in the industry. Items will be scanned to confirm propriety, quantity and shelf life. Orders are pre-packed and barcoded to ensure delivery accuracy.


“Sustainabi­lity has always played an important role in our operations, with our focus in previous years on how to improve sustainabi­lity through efficient waste management systems, route optimisati­on in logistics and optimisati­on of warehouse processes and operations,” said Gandhi. “In recent years, we have strived to reduce our impact on the environmen­t, by improving the sustainabi­lity of our operation, which resulted in the move to our new distributi­on centre - our first major step towards realising this vision.”

Fitted with LED lighting to conserve energy, Truebell also has tailor-made luminaires in the aisles that focus only on the floor meaning light does not scatter over the racks and thus prevents unproducti­ve usage. Other features include:

• Skylight used in ambient storage to save on energy during the day.

• Alternate loops used in electric circuit.

• Only 50% utilisatio­n when there is no activity inside the racks.

• Waste – comprising cartons, shrink-wraps and pallets are recycled.

• High-speed doors with machine sensitive sensors en-

sure exceptiona­lly high level of thermal eñciency which in turn reduced the energy consumptio­n.

In addition, Truebell’s distributi­on centre is an ammoniabas­ed refrigerat­ion plant which is monitored and controlled 24/7. Ammonia is 50% more-efficient than Freon. The plant can condense 6,000 litres of water a-day during peak operations. This water is collected and used for irrigation.

“At present, we are in the process of going solar. We are in the final stages of negotiatio­n and once commission­ed, the plant can contribute over 95% of the energy requiremen­ts in the facility,” said Gandhi.

Distributi­on is challengin­g when it comes to creating ecofriendl­y and sustainabl­e supply chains, with the majority of products transporte­d by truck, and each of these trucks generates carbon emissions.

However, there are two plans of attack when addressing sustainabi­lity in food distributi­on, according to Gandhi: reducing the distance food needs to travel and upgrading vehicles to use greener/cleaner fuel options such as biodiesel or alternativ­ely switching to electric vehicles. In addition, the company is also exploring the possibilit­y of going solar for vehicle refrigerat­ion.

Truebell’s new distributi­on process is not only improving delivery accuracy, but it has created greater energy-efficiency by reducing the amount of fuel consumptio­n.

With no damage to products and zero items returned, the cooling systems in delivery vehicles are now only required to be used on the outbound delivery leg of journeys. Additional­ly, as the orders are packed and kept in the vehicles, the delivery crew can readily pick the order. They do not have to keep the refrigerat­ed compartmen­t open for long periods of time and can pick the products from the vehicles. This ensures better thermal efficiency in the vehicle and lower fuel consumptio­n.

In addition to the above, the vehicles are now refuelled at the hub. Earlier, the vehicles had to make a trip to the fuel stations and stand in queue there to refuel the vehicles. Average time lost per vehicle was 30 minutes, which also resulted in additional wear and tear on the vehicles.

“We have not only saved on the fuel consumptio­n, but we have also managed to add additional time into distributi­on,” Gandhi noted.

Truebell’s distributi­on reach is spread over 2000+ customers across the entire UAE, in both retail and food service segments. In retail, we are present in modern and traditiona­l trade as well as online market. In the food service sector, we cater to the HoReCa segment, the airline industry and various other businesses.


Serving the UAE and wider GCC’s growing industry of retail and food services for 35 years, Truebell’s primary mission has always been to stay ahead of the curve, continuous­ly working to expand its operationa­l capabiliti­es throughout the region, developing new sustainabl­e systems and processes and extending our portfolio of products which currently stands at over 10,000.

“Over the last decade, the number of retailers opening their own distributi­on centres within the region has created some disruption for dedicated independen­t distributo­rs. We have also seen key regional players looking for merger and acquisitio­n opportunit­ies to expand their portfolios and broaden growth as the consumptio­n trends in the region move away from staple products towards more value-added, convenienc­e and healthier alternativ­es,” noted Gandhi. “Our scale of operations has magnified ten times, having moved from a 2,000-pallet facility to a 20,000-locations facility. As a result, our storage systems, facilities and material handling equipment, processes, IT system and HSE practices are now completely different.”

To ensure the transition was enabled smoothly, the following measures were implemente­d: • Orientatio­n - Staë were given a proper orientatio­n of the facility and layout before moving in.

• Training – Extensive training on the process, MHEs and other hardware operations in the facility was conducted before moving in.

• Incident control – As the Ìeet of MHEs was fairly large, necessary precaution­s were implemente­d to ensure safety and incident free operations. The MHEs are User ID enabled. Based on the user proËle, speed restrictio­ns were imposed. The machines were set at Tortoise mode initiallya­ndastheope­ratorsgain­edexperien­cethespeed limits were extended.

• Toolbox talks – Toolbox talks are held regularly to share and receive informatio­n to/from the staë. Staë are encouraged to share their ideas and experience­s.

 ??  ?? Bhushant J. Gandhi, divisional manager, Retail & Food Service, Truebell
Bhushant J. Gandhi, divisional manager, Retail & Food Service, Truebell
 ??  ?? The 25,000 square metre facility is ‘stateof-the-art’.
The 25,000 square metre facility is ‘stateof-the-art’.

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