One of the main FMCG distributors signs agreement with MDB-SCS for the picking optimization in 15 warehouses in France

The challenge :

  • One of the main retailers in France (and even in the world)

  • 15 FMCG warehouses

  • A total surface, exceeding 700 000m²

  • Over 200 000 SKUs to be optimized

It all started a couple of years ago. Our customer decided to restructure its distribution network in France. Previously, different store types (large hypermarkets, medium supermarkets and small grocery shops) were all delivered through dedicated warehouses.

The new scheme provided for single distribution center per region, replenishing all types of stores. The main objective was twofold: reducing the number of warehouses and drastically diminish cost for delivery.

However, doing so, one effect had been underestimated. The remaining distribution centers were calibrated to serve major hypermarkets with a huge product range. Order picking for smaller stores soon appeared to be very un-productive. And, as the market for smaller neighborhood stores seemed to have a promising future, our customer was in need to react quickly to this unforeseen situation.

That’s where MDB-SCS was called in …

Summer 2017, one of the main distribution centers was designed as a pilot for a far going analysis. Here, more than a dozen optimization scenarios have been conceived. All of these scenarios had to take into account the diversity of the other logistics units:

  • Store mix (Large, medium and small stores) would be different on every site
  • Every warehouse had a different configuration (size, square, rectangular, …)
  • Different equipment on different site (pallet, drawer and flow rack locations)
  • Flow organization (shipping on one or two sides of the building)

Finally, 15 different scenarios have been tested and evaluated on the base of clear-cut metrics:

  • Order picking distance
  • Number of replenishments of picking locations
  • Ergonomics
  • Saturation of total number of picking locations

At the end of this exploratory phase, 4 main scenarios have been retained.

During 2018 and 2019, all distribution centers would be analyzed in order to implement the scenario representing the best fit in terms of performance.

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