Castorama Poland is the leading home improvement (DIY) retailer in Poland. Part of Kingfisher plc, it has grown rapidly from humble beginnings with one store in 1997, to a thriving chain of 91 stores today. . In 2017 a new distribution centre was built in Poland. . Two central distribution centres are located in Strykow and third one in Lodz, in the middle of Poland. From these three DCs, Castorama is delivering to all stores around Poland-five days a week.
Odd sized items were the headache
The biggest challenge for Castorama, with the deliveries, was how to handle the long and odd-sized items throughout their supply chain (i.e., in transportation, storage at the warehouse, picking & packing and receiving in the stores). Castorama started to develop in-house solutions to handle these items but felt they needed to find a standard solution for all DCs. K.Hartwall has developed the SmartCube® Jumbo some years ago, exactly for the purpose of transporting long and odd-sized items for other players in the DIY industry. They suggested Castorama test it in their operations.
After the first test with K.Hartwall’s SmartCube® Jumbo, Castorama realised they had found what they were looking for. They soon discovered the benefits the new solution created extended beyond the DC, where picking & packing was made easier and faster. They also saw measurable benefits throughout the entire supply chain with improvements in both their cubic fill efficiency and within their store operations.
The SmartCube® Jumbo, a versatile solution
The SmartCube is a fully foldable and stackable cage. Its footprint is 849 x 2609 mm (H828mm) with a safe working load of 1000 kg.
When designing the SmartCube® Jumbo, K.Hartwall also took into consideration its compatibility with other material handling equipment, such as wooden pallets and plastic boxes, which can be placed on the top of the SmartCube-loaded or empty. The Jumbo model is of course also compatible with other SmartCube® models, such as the standard model. This makes it the perfect choice for transport, as it can improve vehicle cubic fill by more than 30%, compared to using other equipment.
When changing from the use of pallets to the use of the SmartCube, the overall benefits for the DCs included:
- Easier and faster picking: the large and secure sides of the SmartCube® Jumbo prevented longer and odd-shaped goods from falling.
- Increased cubic fill: goods fit better in the SmartCube® Jumbo cage than in wooden pallets which allowed for greater fill.
- Reduced product damage: less than 0,5% of all goods transported arrived damaged. The walls of the SmartCube® Jumbo protected the goods. They avoided being squeezed or crushed as they might have been between two pallets or by the weight of pallets on top of one another
- Less prework – no need to build any “special” pallets/combination of pallets before starting the actual picking. The process is simple and smooth.
Castorama Logistics department is continuously looking for solutions to make the supply chain even more efficient. The challenge is the variation of goods, peak seasons, and the ever-increasing eCommerce business.
Mr. Andrzej Łażewski, Logistics Director, says: “The SmartCube® Jumbo is the perfect solution as it makes the DC process faster and safer. Mr Wojciech Płużek, Logistics Manager , added that the unloading time and process is much safer at the stores now compared to the old “home-made-pallet-solutions.”
As for the store personnel of Castorama, they love the new solution for these reasons:
- Safer and faster unloading
- Reduced product damages
- Goods are stable and well packed
- Easy to fold for storing and return transport, 5pcs in one stack
The next steps & targets with the SmartCube® product family for Castorama Poland are:
- Double-stacking of SmartCube® Jumbo in transportation
- Increasing transport utilization using SmartCube® for more than 20%
- Testing SmartCube® for standing items and with vertical divider
To know more watch this video.
Igor Ciric, Regional Sales Manager