The new Janssen European distribution center centralizes the activities of 15 logistics centers in Europe. It reduces the number of steps in the supply chain, with medicines going directly from the manufacturing plants – Beerse (Belgium), Latina (Italy) and Schaffhausen (Switzerland) – to the La Louvière distribution center, from which they are shipped to Janssen operating companies in 11 European countries as well as to Johnson & Johnson affiliates in the rest of the world. Once fully operational the new distribution center will also ship Janssen pharmaceutical products directly to wholesalers, pharmacies and hospitals in Europe. The La Louvière logistics center has a total operational surface of 21,500m² and will handle 160 million packs of medicines a year. Buck Consultants assisted Johnson & Johnson with the international location search for this state-of-the-art distribution center.

European network

The La Louvière distribution center marks a significant milestone for the implementation of a European integrated distribution network. “The European distribution center in la Louvière will enable us to more efficiently deliver medicines that respond to the real needs of patients. Thanks to the new structure, some of the logistical burden and administrative costs that hospitals are faced with will also disappear”, says Tom Heyman, CEO of Janssen Pharmaceutica.

Johnson & Johnson operates now three European Distribution Centers in Belgium: for pharmaceuticals in La Louvière, for medical devices in Courcelles and in Beese for LifeScan products and clinical supplies. “The management team of these three distribution centers in Belgium will be centralized. The relative proximity of these three European distribution centers makes it possible to use synergies to the maximum extent, and to exchange best practices and know how”, adds Tom Heyman.

For choosing Wallonia, Heyman named many location factors, ranging from good infrastructure and access to transport links (major highways, airports and ports) to Belgium’s central location and close proximity to important markets like France and Germany. He did not deny the significant contribution received from the regional government: €11 million of a total investment of €49 million.

Jeane-Claude Marcourt, Walloon Vice President and Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, welcomes Johnson & Johnson’s investment. “The group’s new European distribution center not only confirms that Wallonia is the perfect location when it comes to logistical activities with major added-value, but also the quality and productivity of the local workforce. In time, this center will become an important partner for the Walloon ‘Bio-logistics’ chain“.

Large & Green

The new distribution center was built on a 70,000 m2 site. The building itself has a surface area of 21,500 m2. 385,000 orders will be processed annually in the center, roughly corresponding to 160 million pharmaceutical packs of medicine. The environment was also an important factor in the implementation of the new center. This is why local, regional and renewable materials were used during the construction phase, with only wood from sustainable logging being used. Moreover, efficient insulation systems have been installed in order to ensure that the buildings are as energy-friendly as possible, and the installation of solar panels is scheduled for later this year.

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