Mercedes-Benz to launch dedicated truck parts distribution hub

Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK’s new Parts Logistics Centre opens for business on 3 January.

The facility at Willen, Milton Keynes, will be operated by 3PL partner XPO Logistics, which has been responsible for transporting parts to Mercedes-Benz dealers since 2020.

While the established warehouse in nearby Tongwell is shared with Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans, the new hub will only hold parts for trucks (including FUSO).

The 140,000 ft2 facility offers approximately 20% more storage capacity for truck parts than is currently available, so will be able to hold deeper and wider stocks. A focus on trucks will allow Mercedes-Benz Trucks and XPO Logistics to manage the space more flexibly and respond more quickly to changing demand.

Fit-out of the new centre is now underway, with the first deliveries of parts from Germany due to arrive in October. Small and medium-sized parts will be held in a three-tier, pedestrian-accessible mezzanine system, with main racking used for larger and fast-moving parts. Automated conveyors will carry inbound parts to the mezzanine floors, and completed picks back down to outbound sortation.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ head of parts logistics Philip Cross is supported by colleagues, logistics operations & development manager Gary Lee, retail/wholesale systems manager Georgina Beecher and supply chain & inventory manager Keri Marsh. They are already working closely with Glen Brotherton, regional general manager at XPO Logistics, whose team of approximately 35 operatives will pick and pack parts ready for delivery.

The centre will be open from 6am until 10pm Monday-Friday, with each dealer receiving five deliveries per week. A 24-hour call out service for emergency VOR (‘vehicle off road’) cases will also be available.

It is the first time that Mercedes-Benz Trucks has entered into an outsourcing agreement of this kind. “Rather than just moving to a new warehouse, we’re effectively adopting an entirely new supply chain,” said Philip Cross. “As with so many industries, the automotive logistics aftermarket is becoming increasingly specialised, and given our focus on providing the best possible service to customers we felt this was the right move at the right time.”

Explaining the rationale behind its choice of partner, he continued: “XPO Logistics is already in a strong place within the sector and was able to cite persuasive examples of 3PL services it provides to other customers, rather than asking us to make a decision based simply on a sales ‘pitch’.

In another departure from what has gone before, members of the manufacturer’s head office parts logistics team will be gaining first-hand experience in dealerships. “We’ll now be spending time on the ‘front line’,” said Philip, “picking parts, driving vans… whatever it takes to get a better understanding of the business and the everyday issues that can arise, so we’re best placed to resolve them.”

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