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Case study

Supply chain flexibility and scalability for one of Poland’s largest grocery brands

Our customer operates over 3000 stores, offering the Polish market quality products, an exceptional shopping environment and close proximity of stores combined with the most competitive prices on the market.

However, managing a grocery operation at this scale isn’t easy. And in 2009, the customer was looking for opportunities to streamline their supply chain and take some pressure off their distribution centres across Poland. They decided to find a partner to support the import and distribution of their home product rage, allowing their DCs to focus on perishable items.

A solution centred on flexibility and scalability

The customer operates a reliable cadence for promotions. Run with frequent turnover, these promotions are advertised to customers in advance, so customer satisfaction can be impacted directly and quickly if the items don’t arrive on time. Despite the cadence for promotions being regular, they vary significantly in scale, ranging from 2-3000 pallets per promotion up to 6000 pallets per promotion in peak season, and often the team has limited visibility about the size of the promotions ahead.

To minimize risk, the customer originally awarded this work to two providers, and split SKUs between these two partners, requiring us to deliver half the stock to the whole of Poland. After some years of this working successfully, the solution evolved to a more sustainable approach – whereby Poland was split into two regions and each partner handled distribution of all items within that region, significantly reducing the trucking requirement and therefore carbon emissions.

Today, the solution we manage for this customer involves the following activities:

  • We support suppliers to negotiate freight costs with carriers
  • Goods are arriving via sea and rail freight from different origins on a DDP basis
  • Ligentia facilitates customs clearance and bring the goods into a dedicated warehouse in Poznan
  • Informed by an information flow between our WMS and the customer’s internal systems, our Poznan team then prepares pallets with cargo for 1600 stores across the West of Poland
  • Finally, we move store ready pallets by truck to the customer’s DCs, where they do the last mile of distribution to store locations.

Road network collaborate ensures on time delivery

The Ligentia team works with the customer’s team on a two weekly rolling basis to make sure we are prepared for what’s to come. One of the biggest challenges is time pressure: peak season can mean that our team has to handle double the goods in Poznan and then out on the road to the DCs.

With only a couple of weeks’ notice on the required volumes for a particular promotion, we have established an operation that allows us to scale very quickly, ensuring we have the right people and the right trucks to deliver week in and week out. This is a particular challenge for our road team, who are responsible for making sure goods get from Poznan to the customer’s DCs. There are specific requirements for the trucks that arrive at the DC, requiring box trailers, and offering a short 1 hour window for delivery to minimize disruption to other critical operations in the DC. To ensure we always meet the customer’s needs, our network of road branches collaborate together in peak periods to ensure all goods arrive on time.

Impact: A simple pricing model that has supported 14 years of growth

A critical and lasting component to this relationship has been the simple pricing model that we offer, which essentially provides the customer a single cost per pallet that we move plus any storage costs that are incurred. The pricing model was challenging to make work due to the vast peaks and troughs in the volumes that we move weekly and the operational scaling that Ligentia handles behind the scenes to manage peak periods effectively.

But our team absolutely relishes this challenge as can be demonstrated by the fact that this partnership is in its 14th year. Today this grocery giant is confidently able to plan and prepare their frequent home promotions, knowing that the Ligentia team will ensure the goods will reach their 1600 stores in Western Poland on time.

In 2022, the Ligentia team in Poland supported the customer to handle:

  • Close cooperation with vendors. 10,000 TEU of sea freight imported into Poland
  • 10,000 truck transports
  • 273,182 pallets moved through our warehouse to store locations across the west of Poland

We’re incredibly proud of the hard work we do to bring this well known range of home products to stores across the west of Poland.