Burley facility marks five years of excellence

NewCold continues to expand rapidly in North America. We now have four facilities in the United States, serving some of the largest food producers in the world.


In May 2019, our Burley facility started operations. To give a sense of how rapid NewCold’s growth has been, the Burley go-live happened a mere year after we opened our first facility in the United States in Tacoma. The team overcame many challenges, including a global pandemic, to be regarded as a model of how NewCold builds warehouses, and employees’ careers while adding resiliency, efficiency, and stability to our customers’ supply chains.


Close customer collaboration
“In building Burley, the partnership with internal and external stakeholders was great from the first meeting,” said Jonas Swarttouw, NewCold Executive Vice President Commercial and Chairman, North America. “The teams focused on finding ways to support project feasibility, creating transparency of the process, identifying risks, and plans for mitigation. This ultimately enabled us to make the investment decision to move forward,” said Swarttouw. The close collaboration between NewCold and the customer helped complete the project in record time.


“The end-to-end development process from the first customer meeting to the first pallet in the building has been the fastest to-date for NewCold in North America thus far; approximately 24 months. With the complexity of a new 90,000 pallet position automated cold store connected to rail, such speed to market can only happen when all parties involved work as a team,” said Swarttouw.


Success in the face of a global pandemic
The Burley team worked diligently to exceed customer expectations in its early days of operations. After less than a year, however, a worldwide phenomenon would impact the site forever.


“We had been going for about a year and seeing success — and then COVID hit,” said Derek Bedke, Burley Site Manager. The team created systems and processes that would allow for enhanced site performance, demonstrating remarkable resiliency in their ability to quickly pivot and create solutions in the face of adversity. “We started looking at how we could make the process better,” said Bedke. “We created tools that we still use to this day.”


NewCold’s commitment to customer service
The Burley team is an example of NewCold’s customer-centric focus.
“We’ve demonstrated to our customer that we will do whatever it takes to keep going,” said Bedke. “We are very intentional about fostering those relationships and working with our customer.” The close customer collaboration that brought success in the early stages of the project has continued.


“There is no better example of trust, care, and customer centricity than the partnership that supports a factory with just-in-time transportation throughout their production hours. Our operation and the customer’s operation are true partners, working together towards a common mission,” said Mike Shawgo, Executive Vice President Operations in North America.


Ripple effect through the organization
Today the Burley site and its employees are thriving, with that success making the entirety of NewCold stronger.


“Burley is now producing employees that are going out across the region and serving an even bigger role across new and existing sites as subject matter experts,” said Trae Richardson, Senior Finance Director. Richardson was an early member of the team at Burley, implementing financial procedures at the site after previously working for NewCold in Melbourne, Australia.


NewCold’s environment of continuous learning and development has provided team members with the opportunity to create a career path.
“Most of the management team right now, three of them started in a different spot and then moved into management. Many people who started with us as managers have been promoted to more senior roles as well,” said Bedke.


Cross-training instrumental to career growth
Thanks to NewCold’s strong record of providing cross-training opportunities, Burley employees can upskill and take on roles of increased responsibility.


“Cross-training is very strong at Burley. Once we get people to a place where they feel confident in their position, we evaluate what the next step in their growth should be so that we can keep developing their skills. That way, when there’s an opportunity, we can keep moving people from within,” said Drexton Thrall, Burley Maintenance Manager.


Thrall started as a System Operator in 2019 and has advanced at NewCold since. While mentoring new hires, he often cites his own experience to inspire his mentees.


“We get a lot of people that come here intending to grow their careers,” said Thrall. “It puts a smile on my face because I can tell them what I went through. I can say, ‘These are the ranks that I moved up, and we’ll give you the right curriculum to get there if you want to follow it.”


An example of excellence
Today, Burley continues to deliver a high level of service. “Our NewCold team members at the Burley operation embody our purpose, vision, and mission to their core,” said Shawgo. “Their dedication to our business and our customer is the DNA of our company. The hard work and focus of the operation have created teams that are well-versed in every aspect of automation and exemplify excellence.”


About NewCold
Founded in 2012, NewCold is a rapidly growing global leader in advanced food logistics. We have a network of 18, mostly highly automated, warehouses with more than 1.4 million pallet positions in ten countries. And a growing transport fleet of over 200 trucks and 500 trailers. Led by Founder and CEO Bram Hage and backed by shareholder Westport Capital Partners, NewCold provides end-to-end supply chain solutions to leading food companies powered by proprietary technology and a team of over 2,000 people.


For press inquiries contact Marvin David Meintjies: [email protected]

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