An innovative £2m ‘supercentre’ for the distribution division of SIG plc was officially opened this week, paving the way for changes in the company’s operations across 15 countries.
Gateshead MP Ian Mearns and mayor of Gateshead Coun Jack Graham MBE were among the dignitaries who braved torrential downpours on Thursday to celebrate the opening of the new branch in Dunston, alongside senior figures from the group, which is the leading European specialist supplier to the construction, building and industrial markets.
SIG Distribution has invested over £2m in building and renovation work since July 2012 to regenerate the derelict site, once the home of the former Newcastle Federation Breweries distribution centre.
Now open for business, the Tyneside supercentre employs around 70 people to service the needs of SIG’s 1,500 construction customers in the North East.
It is the first branch in the UK to bring together on one site all five of the company’s constituent businesses – SIG Insulation, SIG Technical Insulation, SIG Interiors, SIG Fixings and SIG Construction Accessories.
SIG plc group chief executive Stuart Mitchell said: “The launch of the Tyneside supercentre in Dunston marks a major milestone for SIG Distribution.
“As well as making SIG Distribution’s business operation more streamlined and efficient, we believe this new branch will add value to our customers’ businesses.
“By working with us more efficiently, we will help them to ensure their businesses are fit for the future and well positioned to take advantage of the growing upturn in the construction sector.”
He added that the new centre was the “prototype” for the entire group, influencing what would happen in the 15 countries SIG trades in.
“We’ll undoubtedly learn things along the way, but we very much plan to roll this out and replicate it,” he said.
The FTSE-listed SIG plc, which enjoyed huge growth prior to the beginning of the recession in 2008, has a total of 680 trading sites and, in the first half of this year, recorded a turnover of £1.27bn.
Paul Gordon, managing director of SIG Distribution said: “I’m extremely proud that with our investment we have been able to reinvigorate this previously derelict industrial complex and bring it back into use as our brand new distribution centre. As a business, we have 1,500 plus customers located here in the North East.
“Indeed we see the region as offering a real opportunity for further growth. The investment we have made in this fantastic new site will enable us to realise that ambition.”