On March 26th members of Q4 visited the Co-op distribution centre in Andover. We were welcomed with coffee and tea and given a presentation which included telling us of the Rochdale Pioneers, who started the Co-op in 1844. They believed that the profits should be shared amongst the members according to their purchases. I’m sure most of us can remember the family Co-op book being stamped.

We were then taken on a tour of the centre. Everything at the centre has been meticulously thought through and so runs very smoothly. The building is in three parts. Ambient goods -chilled and freezer. Sales are reported directly from shop tills and the central computer records what is available from stock and what requires re-ordering.

The movement of goods is by specially adapted trucks. The drivers of the trucks wear headphones to receive their orders of where to put into stock or extract their load. All goods are then placed in the appropriate trolley and the trolley taken to it’s particular area for delivery. Each day trolley lines are ready by 2pm when the lorries, 250 of them, go out to make their deliveries.

Returning lorries will bring back pallets, recyclable packaging and any out of date food, which is sent to the pig farms. Any food still ok for human consumption is sent to local food banks.

The staff were friendly and very happy to answer any questions. A most enjoyable visit.


Jacquie Tucker