What happened recently with Kuehne + Nagel and what about your future collaboration with Maisons du Monde?
Our news focuses on our three pillars: our customers, improving technologies and teams. At the same time, we are seeing stronger demand for needs from the e-commerce world. Kuehne + Nagel specializes in e-commerce and fashion, offering multi-client and multi-brand management expertise. Maisons du Monde perfectly demonstrates our ability to work with large retail companies. Companies like Maisons du Monde need a certain hybridization, i.e. a mixture of traditional commerce and e-commerce, connecting BtoB and BtoC customers.
From June 2022, we will be responsible for the e-commerce activities of the home specialist, who is also the fourth furniture seller in France. We will work from our location near Rouen. This new 69,000 square meter warehouse is dedicated to handling BtoB and BtoC flows of furniture, decor and sofa families to France, Germany, Benelux, Austria and the United Kingdom. The building will be constructed according to environmentally friendly standards. It should be noted that for Maisons du Monde, it is the first to outsource logistics to an external partner. Our experience in particular in this customer hybridization (BtoB vs BtoC) played a critical role in the selection, given that we had this experience and this knowledge, particularly with our client Orange.
How is your company organized to provide its services?
At the organizational level, for any startup project, we rely on a team called “Com Customer Embording” which includes 45 experts in France (several hundreds from all over the world) at Lean Six Sigma. This quality-oriented method aims to reduce the diversity of the process in order to move towards zero defects. However, among these 45 Lean Six Sigma experts, some have certification ranging from green belt to black belt and master black belt. These “belts” represent certifications in logistics that make it possible to obtain high levels of knowledge in operational excellence within the framework of Lean Six Sigma. By obtaining a black belt certification, for example, you can master all the tools and methods to improve the performance and profitability (Lean) of a company while controlling various processes (Six Sigma). On the other hand, Our operations are organized in 45 locations, according to four French regions managed by a team responsible for initiating projects, another team responsible for customer satisfaction, and a team responsible for continuous improvement.
How do you manage the unexpected events and volatility of the logistics business?
The first quality is being flexible. For this, a good knowledge of the challenges that our customers face, especially in e-commerce is essential. Concretely, we are connected on social networks in order to follow the feedback of our customers to see if they are completely satisfied with the delivery of their products. Thanks to this contact with consumer returns issues, we have occasionally modified our logistics “processes.” Moreover, it is necessary to be able to predict the peak of the system. Thus, it is a matter of having a “reserve” reserve of a certain number of people who can come and join us at any time on busy days. As such, we have implemented a flexible social model with our employees and partner companies for temporary employment, in order to handle these major fluctuations in demand. It is important to remember that the social model advocated by Kuehne + Nagel makes quality of life at work a priority. This quality of life is assessed every year by certifications, including Best Employers, a certification that rewards the best companies for their quality of life at work, which we have earned for 4 years.
What are the latest technologies in the world of supply chain?
We evaluate the techniques we believe are most effective in each situation. Then we provide the answer with the appropriate technology: Shuttle, (shuttle operation between boxes) pocket sorter (top sorting system that relies on bags, pouches to store and transport products), conveyor (automated industrial system on reels), automated warehousing (automatic warehousing and order preparation), or stacking hoist (a dynamic device that allows by storing a large number of pallets, packages or boxes in a small space), etc. In fact, no bias should direct us as to which technology to use. The choice should be justified according to the response we wish to provide to the needs of our clients. It is up to us to adapt to the right technology, which does not mean that we are not convinced of the merits of the choice. For example, for an auto parts company, our experience led us to deploy an automated shop, while a preliminary study led to another selection.
In the specific e-commerce market, how are you?
Our ability to customize the customer experience for our clients, by customizing packages is one of our strengths. In particular, in the warehouse, we are able to add special and specific messages to specific clients, do embroidery directly, incorporate gilding on products, etc. This differentiation of packages is a real “advantage” in terms of customer relations. All while respecting the same delivery times as these additional services are directly integrated into our supply chain logistics.
What is your vision for the future challenges of the supply chain?
Like many economic and industrial sectors, we are seeing an acceleration in all flows and only the best service providers will be able to get the most out of the game.
The supply chain in the next few years should lead to players being able to synchronize with the challenges of their customers.
In other words, To be in touch with the heart of their institutions. It’s up to us to deliver a supply chain that can respond to increasingly late requests, to get them out of warehouses as quickly as possible (in less than two hours, for example). It is also up to us to respond to this hybridization that some demand. We are able to offer a combination of building, mechanization and teams, but also to offer our expertise in infrastructures to the client.