Wehkamp and WDP significantly expand the e‑commerce giant’s distribution centre once more

written by Norbert Padt
Published on:
Future logisticsImpact by responsibility

Wehkamp Retail Group is expanding its logistics centre in Zwolle again. The first piles for the new hall were put into the ground at the beginning of this month. With an new extension of 30,000 m2 the logistics centre will grow to more than 140,000 m2. WDP’s Development Manager Mark Wilderom and Project Manager Dick Hootsen offer an explanation.

Wehkamp was founded as a mail order company in 1952, and has been a pure e‑commerce player since 2010. Today, nearly 30% of Dutch families buy from Wehkamp, which has positioned itself as the most inspiring, curated and relevant online shop for fashion and living. The growing success of online shopping, Wehkamp’s desire to improve the centralisation of their logistics, and the recent acquisition of children’s clothing e‑shop kleert​jes​.com, made it clear that expansion of the distribution centre in Zwolle was a necessity. This will include a new warehouse that should be ready to begin its main use as a distribution point for larger goods such as furniture at the end of April 2023. The total investment is around €30 million.

Optimal utilisation 

I have been working for WDP since 2016, and I have had the pleasure of working with architect DENC to develop Wehkamp’s expansion phases 2 and 3 in Zwolle. The idea behind this new warehouse is to centralise as much storage area as possible on the site in Zwolle, although Wehkamp’s decision to opt for a new expansion was carefully considered. There is an unwritten law in logistics that says the more space you have, the more stuff you store. Of course, the intention is that everything that finds it way in must find its way out again. Hence the phased approach. Wehkamp first wanted to make optimal use of all the space that had been realised after phase 2 before continuing to build.”

Mark Wilderom
4 2

Rocket science

We built a warehouse, an office space and a canteen during phase 1 in 2016. Phase 2 in 2019 involved an expansion of the warehouse and building additional office space. The photo studio was built by Wehkamp later. The main focus of phase 3 is mainly the extra warehouse, supplemented with a mezzanine above the shipping area, which itself has 30 extra docks for trucks. Wehkamp also works with a fully automated distribution system. You can safely call it the Rocket Science of logistics.”

Mark Wilderom

By the way, this ultra-modern photo studio is a real asset for the e‑commerce giant. It is not only used for taking pack shots of all the items that are for sale. Large photo shoots also take place, such as around Easter, Halloween, Christmas and Sinterklaas. For example, Wehkamp always has a visually attractive and inviting website that follows the seasons.”

Dick Hootsen

Durable and beautiful

The new warehouse will of course comply with the latest standards. There will be 4,400 extra solar panels on the roof, and nothing but LED lighting. The building is also completely gasless. We also provide as much natural daylight as possible, which reduces lighting costs and therefore energy consumption. We also provide a bevy of light at the connections of the new hall to the existing halls, which also breaks up the length of the hall a little. There will also be beautiful green planting around the site. In addition, the mayor of Zwolle promised that the public space around the location will also be made more green. It will therefore be both a beautiful and sustainable expansion project. The building will therefore also obtain BREEAM in use certification, which is a method of mapping out the integral sustainability, and guarantees it via a certificate.”

Dick Hootsen

Great co-operation

WDP is developing and realising the building for its own portfolio, and its aim is to be the long-term owner of the property. Wehkamp will pay rent for the use. We know from experience that Wehkamp always takes care of our buildings with due diligence. After all, it is more pleasant for their employees to work in a building that is in excellent condition.”

Mark Wilderom

It’s just really nice to work with them. Roel Poortman and Jan de Niet from Wehkamp know the building and the techniques like no other and know exactly what they want. With an expansion such as this, it is useful to know exactly where the sprinklers, electricity and sewers are located, and these men have all this information down pat. Wehkamp also quickly prepared a clear set up plan. The earlier you can include this in the development of a project, the better. After all, these are the sorts of things that can have an impact on your foundations, piles, installations and the thickness of the floors.”

Dick Hootsen

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