Community Local News

Rising from the ashes and returning to the community

Two years on from the fire at Andover, Ocado Group (“Ocado”) is pleased to confirm that the rebuild of its new customer fulfilment centre (“CFC”) is continuing to proceed at pace and is scheduled to open on time in Autumn 2021.

Despite the challenges that this year has posed, work has been able to continue, in a safe and Covid-secure environment.

Kim Lund ,HR Manager at Ocado says “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team and our construction partners, work was able to begin swiftly and safely in February 2019. The shell build is now complete with only the external yard and access works to close out in order to achieve practical completion of the construction phase. The internal Material Handling Equipment (MHE) and IT fit-out is well underway and colleagues will be occupying the offices imminently.

The new facility will employ around 1700 people across a variety of different roles, ranging from Personal Shoppers to Management as well as Engineers, Tech support, and Drivers. Roles have been made available to all those who worked at the site in 2019 and around 200 employees who worked there previously are planning to return to work at the new site. All new and returning employees will receive a thorough induction and training at the new facility.

The new CFC will be 217,000 square foot (compared with 225,000 for the previous site) and cater for up to 59,000 deliveries per week for our partner Ocado Retail, itself a 50/50 Joint Venture between Ocado and Marks & Spencer when it is at peak capacity. The original CFC, which opened in December 2016, was the first of its kind in the world and provides the format for the new facilities we have built and are building in the UK and around the world. The learnings and experience from the further rollout means the new Andover site will benefit from the latest Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) technology. There will also be more efficient utilisation of the building itself as well as the plot with regards to the delivery operation. New additions are a large acoustic barrier around the site to limit noise emissions to our neighbours along with ecological improvements including bird boxes, bat boxes, and dormice habitats.

Ocado is delighted to be fully returning to Andover and looks forward to continuing to play an active role in the community. Despite the fire, and amid the challenges of Covid-19, Ocado has continued to support local charities with around 40 receiving prize donations for fundraising events. Ocado is looking forward to further engagement with the community in the future.

Matt Whitwell, General Manager, Ocado Group, commented:“I am so proud of everyone at Ocado Group that has come together and put such a huge amount of time, effort, and love into the last two years of rebuilding the Andover CFC. I would like to thank all my colleagues who have contributed to a project unlike any other, and a special mention to those in Delivery Operations who have continued to serve the local area throughout this time. There is a huge emotional connection for so many of us returning to Andover seeking to capture the magic of what we had before, as well as improving our employee experience and operational effectiveness, wherever we can. We are almost there, and we cannot wait to open our doors and send out the first orders later in the year”.

Kim Lund, Senior People Partner, Ocado Group, commented:“We are delighted to be re-engaging with the Andover community and have been overwhelmed by the response to our return. It has been fantastic to reconnect with many former employees of the site, and it is a credit to the Ocado brand and culture that many are returning to work again at the site. The hard work continues ahead of fully reopening but in the meantime, we are looking forward to immersing ourselves into the Andover community, by providing great employment opportunities as well as supporting local schools, colleges, charities, and business connections.”