Yodel has partnered with Dutch sortation specialist Hexapole to optimise capability for small parcels at its Shaw sorting centre in Oldham.

The deal will help Yodel meet increased demand amid the surge in online retail and involves a refurbished unit originally installed in a third-party premises in Switzerland.

Hexapole has already installed Yodel's first Small Parcel Sorter (SPS) at its Hatfield sort centre.

The new Shaw operation parcels into plastic sacks which are then sealed, labelled and transported manually and directly to the dispatch door. This eliminates placing any additional requirements for sortation capacity on the main sorter.

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Sacks can hold four times the quantity of parcels compared to the tote. Containerised parcels can be processed and tracked as a single unit. This is said to substantially increase efficiencies and reduces the requirement for manual processes such as individual scanning.

The sacks are fully recyclable and remain within the Yodel network. All empty sacks can be collected at the service centres and returned to the sorts for onward recycling.

Yodel chief operations officer, Carl Moore, said: “We were thrilled to be working with Hexapole on a second SPS and once on site, the build process was remarkably quick - testament to their organisation and good planning.

"This investment in equipment and tech will help deliver improvements in flow as well as reduce parcel handling by our colleagues. Since its installation, the operational benefits have been immediate.”

Added Bas Bloemink, MD at Hexapole: “At the Hatfield Distribution Centre, our sorting machine and software control have been used for more than 20 years. It is fantastic that Yodel has chosen to work with Hexapole to install a second SPS for their national distribution centre in Shaw. Our sorting system enables the company to manage all kinds of mixed flows of small and larger parcels.”