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Partnership - key to success in

logistics services for the retail sector
2019.06.24
An operator who wants to enjoy successful cooperation with a large customer from the retail sector should focus on developing tailor-made solutions because only these will fit the customer's business practice and meet his expectations in the best possible way. In this area, Fresh Logistics Polska focuses on partnership which brings measurable benefits to both sides.

For several years now, Fresh Logistics Polska has been systematically and consistently conducting activities aimed at partner business cooperation when organizing the supply chain between the producer, a logistics operator, and the recipient. This is particularly important in the fresh food industry, where we deal with the daily execution of groupage deliveries to consignees. Using a single means of transport, thanks to the overnight connections between depots as well as the cross-docking and consolidation of goods in FLP depots, the company executes deliveries on the next day after the goods are released for transport. Fresh and ultra-fresh food products require transport, storage and handling to take place while maintaining a specific temperature range, which is monitored at every stage. This is a challenge which requires getting to know each other really well, gaining trust and mutual understanding of the needs and capabilities.

Before starting cooperation, it is important to realize that every customer in the retail sector works on the basis of their own logistics solutions developed along with the development and growth of their organization. Frequently, supply chain solutions have developed organically with the development of the retail chain. Naturally, it is possible that a retail chain may want to try out the solutions proposed by the operator, but it is more common that the chain presents the framework and principles of the solution that is expected. Regardless of the specificity of the customer, three categories of operator's resources are responsible for the ability to provide services in an effective manner, and consequently, for successful cooperation:

  • engaged and experienced staff who can design, implement and maintain high quality of functional solutions in the supply chain which meet customer expectations;
  • warehouse and transport resources which meet the high requirements of retail chains, which pay special attention to the quality of resources i.e.  services provided to them;
  • IT solutions enabling, for instance, connection with the systems of the retail chain and support of solutions designed for it. TMS and WMS systems of the operator should not only be a sophisticated solution that meets the needs of the operator, but which also needs to be able to effectively connect with the ERP systems of the customer from the retail sector.

Fresh Logistics Polska, as a logistics operator, is between the producer (customer) with whom it has business relations in the form of, for instance, commercial contracts, and the recipient with whom the customer is connected commercially. In most cases, there is no direct business relationship between the logistics company and the recipient. However, if all three entities, i.e. the producer, the logistics company, and the recipient, consider their supreme goal to be the daily provision of the consumer with fresh food on the store shelf, it forms a base for cooperation and optimization of the supply chain.   

Each of the participants in the supply chain has its own determinants and limitations resulting from the work technology, but for everyone the effective and timely delivery is important. It is important that the parties want to get to know each other and share information regarding their determinants and the so-called boundary conditions of their own process. This is the first step to fruitful cooperation, joint improvement and optimization of own processes and, above all, to rational and systemic management of everyday situations.

Deliveries to central warehouses of retail chains account for over 65% of all deliveries made by Fresh Logistics Polska, which is why the company puts special emphasis on cooperation with these customers. Despite the lack of direct business relationships, more and more central warehouses of retail chains see positive aspects of cooperation and everyday contacts with Fresh Logistics. The effect of the policy based on partner business relations with service recipients include:

  • Regular visits to central warehouses of retail chains where current operational issues are discussed and feasible solutions are implemented, which are later used by both the recipient and by Fresh Logistics Polska;
  • Establishing regular, daily advice time slots for Fresh Logistics in the majority of central warehouses, which are also binding for partners (suppliers, producers), and agreeing special advice time slots during long weekends and pre-holiday peaks;
  • Possibility of daily delivery advice due to the fact that each of the central warehouses is supplied with several Fresh Logistics trucks daily with goods of various suppliers on one means of transport. The advice contains complete information on the number of pallets from a given supplier transported on a particular means of transport, the order number, and the expected delivery time;
  • Developing communication matrices between the central warehouse and Fresh Logistics Polska, which shorten communication and speed up decision making;
  • Reporting on-time deliveries by the central warehouse and Fresh Logistics, which is the basis for increasing the efficiency of both parties;
  • Defining rules for preparing goods on pallets and the obligations of the drivers executing deliveries and the recipients;
  • Mutual visits of operational divisions (e.g. warehousing departments) in order to get to know and apply tested solutions to optimize processes affecting also work safety and food safety in transport and storage;
  • Cooperation between IT departments in order to improve data exchange, which speeds up the processes of accepting goods and obtaining confirmation of delivery, and thus reduces the amount of paper documentation. An example of such activities is the project of automatic delivery advice for JMP distribution centres (Biedronka chain), which was recognized in the Innovation Code contest organized by GS1 Polska. Fresh Logistics Polska started to send EDI advice to individual JMP centres after the physical loading of the goods on a specific route. In this way, it was possible to simplify the delivery advice processes, facilitate their registration, and to increase data reliability.

These are just some examples of completed actions which bring specific benefits to all involved parties. For the manufacturer it means an efficient and timely delivery at real cost, for the recipient - a predictable delivery and proper organization of reception of goods, and for Fresh Logistics Polska - predictable time of unloading, more efficient management of the fleet and working time of drivers. This kind of business cooperation is undoubtedly beneficial not only in the financial but also in the operational aspect. It shows that partnership is the right way to run a business while showing respect for all participants of the supply chain. Only in this way and by doing it together can you influence the market reality and introduce innovative logistics solutions so that the producer and the logistics operator, and finally the recipient, are close to their customers.

Authors:

Marek Kwiatkowski, Operational Manager, Fresh Logistics Polska, Raben Group

Maja Kierzek-Piotrowska, Customer Service Manager, Fresh Logistics Polska, Raben Group

Author
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Marek Kwiatkowski

Operations Manager

Fresh Logistics Polska