Abbott Warehousing & Distribution in Breda is the logistical heart of a global pharmaceutical company that is famed for its life-saving and life-extending drugs. The US company certainly lives by its motto, ‘A Promise for Life’, and in Breda Abbott is making that promise come true by demanding the highest quality of both its drugs and its logistical operations.
Abbott, which was founded in 1888 and is headquartered in Chicago, has branches in over 100 nations and more then 80,000 employees around the world. The company has had a presence in the Netherlands for over half a century and, thanks in part to a number of acquisitions, it has today a workforce of around 2,500 around the country. Since 2006, Breda has served as its logistical center, working closely together with the corporation’s Zwolle branch where finance, planning, customer services and other support services are located.
“Abbott Warehousing & Distribution in Breda takes on a pivotal role in distributing our drugs, medical nutrition products and veterinary drugs to over 160 nations,” says Jolanda Cortlever, general manager for both the Zwolle and Breda branches of Abbott. “We move our products through distribution centers and Abbott branches in Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and numerous others. Furthermore, we are also increasingly supplying end-users in Western and Eastern Europe from Breda.”
Transport as another specialty
The Abbott logistical center in Breda is the most high-tech center of its kind and was constructed to resemble a silo where robotic forklifts shift some 30,000 pallets on 30-meter high scaffolding. “We have almost fully automated our logistics process,” explains Cortlever. “This allows us to guarantee that our service is of a consistently high quality.”
Aside from storage and distribution, Abbott’s Breda activities also include value added logistics such as finishing, labeling and postponement. “And our logistical stake in Abbott’s worldwide activities does not stop once the drugs are en route,” the general manager says. "We monitor the transport until the products have safely reached their final destination. The activities in our branch are undertaken with the greatest care, a fact that all our staff are well aware of. And we impose the same requirements on transportation, selecting the modality that suits the product, objective and destination the best. The transportation environment must be the absolute best possible, as many drugs are temperature-sensitive – a factor which is always the case when it comes to biological medicines. It is clear that transport has become an additional specialty for Abbott in Breda.”
Abbott’s ambitions find a home in Breda
When it comes to establishing satellites, Breda fits in perfectly with Abbott’s ambition of providing maximum performance for all its customers. “Breda is close to the international Ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp as well as the airports in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris,” says Cortlever. “We also have access to well-trained, multilingual staff who can work very well in English. Moreover, the Netherlands is a country where people with many different cultural backgrounds work well together. Out of the workforce here at Abbott in Breda, I’ve counted over 20 different nationalities. The country is politically stable, while the financial climate and the tax regime and customs facilities are all to our benefit. And finally, we have an excellent level of contact with organizations such as the municipality and BOM Foreign Investments.”