Febr 2019 - Man and technology

A sorter as client

At the Eindhoven Westfields business park, DPD is building its new Dutch headquarters. Using a clever design, Inbo solved the puzzle of bringing together the compelling logistics of the area and a welcoming appearance for employees and visitors. 

DPD is an international network of parcel transporters. The heart of the company is a sorter with a total length of 900 metres. At peak times, such as on Black Friday, it sorts up to 50,000 parcels per hour. DPD lives by the principle that ‘every parcel is special’. It has meaning for a person, an organisation or perhaps for an entire industry, and must therefore be treated carefully and yet at a fast pace. Architect Bert van Breugel says that the DPD engineers ‘deserve the Nobel Prize for logistics. Everything is second to the system that runs 24/7.’ 

The building was eventually given a T-shape; the logistics and safety around the building were essential. Every day, dozens of lorries unload their parcels at the loading docks. The parcels then pass through the sorter and are transferred to more than 200 smaller vans, which then leave the area.

Visitors and office personnel drive directly to the parking deck on the top storey and cross a walkway to the offices that are built above the hall. From the entrance of the office, one looks straight upon the sorter in the hall. The office has an open and flexible design, with space for 150 workplaces. 

To design a building that is fully in the service of the merciless demands of the huge sorter was an extensive assignment. ‘It made the puzzle that much more fun’, says Bert. ‘We had to think from the point of view of the machine.’

But what really got him going was that not everything is automated. The parcels are manually put on the line and loaded onto the vans. ‘This creates many jobs, mostly part-time, for people from the area.’ 

The DPD headquarters will be opened on 11 April. To celebrate this, DPD is building a professional squash court in the hall, where the DPD Open 2019 will be played between 9 and 14 April.

Further information: Bert van Breugel