Wilkinsons Distribution Centre

Read about our work with Wilkinson and how we worked together to provide communications to their distribution centre, a site that covers over 1.25 million square foot.


The Wilkinsons distribution centre and head office, JK House, includes a store for current team members and is based in Manton Wood, Worksop, Nottinghamshire. The site boasts an impressive 1.25 million square foot area.

When opened in 1995 it had the fastest sorting system in the UK. The Distribution centre employs approximately 1,200 employees, 800 on days and 400 on a night shift. It also has its own fuelling station for the company’s fleet of vehicles.

They were using analogue radios, together with two repeaters to boost the coverage, but the system was proving more and more problematic. As time passed they couldn’t communicate over the whole site even with the repeaters, because the area was so large, and the buildings were made up of a lot of steelwork which blocked the radio signal. This meant that staff on site were not able to stay in contact, and this effected productivity. The real problems came when they ran fire drills, the clarity of the voices were not clear enough to run a safe and constructive fire drill, ensuring it was done as quickly and safely as possible being the main aim. Overall Wilkinsons wanted a more robust and clearer system.


To cover 1.25 million square foot and surrounding area
To supply handsets to cover several departments
To supply a number of channels to help with congestion
To provide a text message facility, display radio with full keypad
To develop a fire alarm alert system


After a thorough site survey Zycomm recommended a Hytera digital system and two repeaters to enhance the site coverage.

The initial number of radios to be integrated into the business would be 170 with a view to increasing this periodically. 24 of these radios would be a display radio for Managers and Team Leaders and the others being a non display or keypad radio. The fire alarm software application would be designed so that if a fire alarm was to sound, it would send a text message to the radios explaining which area of the building there was a problem, giving them a five minute window to investigate before a full evacuation of the building was carried out, and the fire brigade called.


“Moving over to digital radios has given us an opportunity to reorganise and continue to manage the radio system effectively. Before the new system, we didn’t know who had got radios, how many had gone missing, which radio had been allocated to which member of staff and therefore couldn’t monitor the benefits effectively.

We have different departments using different channels, so Goods In, Engineers, Operations, Shunters and General Managers can communicate without affecting each other,” Explained Paul Ridgill the Deputy Engineering Manager.

“We have also been able to supply staff who work in noisier areas with ear defender headsets with integrated earpieces and mics. We now have clear and concise communications over the whole site, we don’t suffer with any congestion, and we are never unable to use the radios because another conversation is happening at the same time.

Our staff are now held accountable – they sign for a radio to say they are taking responsibility for it – which reduces our costs because the radios very rarely go missing. We have cut the amount of false fire alarms down dramatically since having the new radios system, having that five minute window to investigate has increased productivity of the staff because we can avoid an evacuation or if we do have to evacuate, get the staff out and back into the building as quickly as possible and carry on with the working day.”

Find out more about our Radios And Solutions here.