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  • Author: METRO Office EU Affairs

Everything in real time? Part 1/2

The last mile and the first steps – retail logistics 4.0

This article includes several parts:

Digitisation is presenting global logistics with new challenges, with an entire industry having to come up with new answers. And the area of retail logistics in particular will grow in line with its tasks – as long as the parameters are right. In part 1 of the tradeletters' focal point we present how METRO AG is working on future logistics now and follows the maxime "close to the customer".

We have a clear vision of the future: the goods we order will be delivered to our homes essentially in real time; drones and minicopters will take care of deliveries, as will e-vehicles that will move around towns and cities almost silently around the clock. Huge, fully automated logistics centres will be restocked by convoys of self-driving trucks. These megatrucks are precisely timed data centres on four wheels that eliminate those notorious duels between trucks during overtaking manoeuvres on the motorway. At home, thinking food cupboards will do all the work for you. The Internet of Things will make everything connected. Targeted data flows will help retailers to be even more customer-oriented and to know today what customers will order tomorrow. But is this really all still such a long way off?

Customer proximity is key

Digitisation, globalisation and demographic change are resulting in upheaval and new developments in the retail and logistics sectors, the likes of which have never before been seen. In particular, increasing interconnectivity and growing e-commerce offer huge potential within many channels, while also presenting businesses with some significant challenges. But no matter what shape sales of the future take, be they multi-, cross- or omnichannel, the key to success already lies in making all processes as efficient as possible, both on- and offline. It’s also a question of always bearing the customers’ needs in mind.

Klaus-Guido Jungwirth, Chief Operating Officer of Media-Saturn Germany, recognizes that what the customers want above all is speedy delivery and maximum adherence to delivery dates. Media-Saturn intends to further improve its logistics structures in the future, to strengthen its position with the goods it offers at more than 400 stores in Germany and through its online shop. Its maxim is to be as close as possible to the customers with its goods. The stores themselves represent a logistical advantage over solely online retailers, as they also serve as mini regional warehouses.

Zoom in

In addition to structural changes, this solution being a success is above all dependent on the implementation of a flexible IT solution which is able to map the location and availability of goods in real time. The consumer electronics chain will therefore continue to make systematic investments in its IT in the future.

We want to have optimised everything within five years such that we can serve our customers always on time – at the times chosen by them.

Klaus-Guido Jungwirth, Chief Operating Officer, Media-Saturn Deutschland

Fresh storage concept

The METRO sales lines Real and METRO Cash & Carry, which primarily sell food, are likewise looking to optimize their logistics structures, with the aim of catering even better to the customers’ needs in terms of the availability of goods and maximum product quality and freshness. As supply chain management is optimised, logistics is also increasingly focusing on the new strategic business areas of METRO Cash & Carry and Real, namely food service distribution (FSD), smaller shop formats in inner-city locations and online business.

The reorganisation of logistics involves the construction of two new, more modern and larger logistics centres in Kirchheim and Marl, which will be complemented by various other METRO LOGISTICS warehouses and also regional FSD depots that will focus on making deliveries to METRO Cash & Carry’s food service industry customers in the future.

”The key criteria when selecting where to locate the new logistics centres included lot size, development costs, the soil condition, the owner structure and transport connections,“ explains Jeroen Janssen Lok, Group Director Strategy Logistics Germany, at METRO AG. ”The reorganisation also entails some old warehouses gradually being closed, due to their location or their outdated structural infrastructure no longer meeting the requirements made of a modern logistics structure. These new logistics centres will bring us up to the current logistics standards and will enable us to offer our employees up-to-date job opportunities,“ Janssen Lok clarifies.

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Read more about retail logistics 4.0 in part 2 of the tradeletters' focal point.

METRO Office EU Affairs

Information about the author

METRO Office EU Affairs is the team in the Representative Office of METRO AG in Brussels. Brussels@metro.de

This article includes several parts: