No, we’re not talking about canine logistics, but rather, Denmark’s leading retailer, which slashed distribution costs 9 percent by automating its operations.
By David Maloney
Denmark may seem like a small country, but from a logistics standpoint, it can be a challenge. Most of its population lives on the Jutland peninsula, which extends northward from Germany, or on the main islands of Zealand and Funen. But the country also includes over 400 other islands, some inhabited and some not. Adding to that are denizens of distant Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
For Coop, Denmark’s largest retailer, serving that diverse geography is not easy.
Coop is similar in scope to Wal-Mart in the United States. It sells a mix of grocery and general merchandise, with retail outlets varying in size from large department stores to compact convenience shops in the smaller towns. Overall, the chain consists of 1,200 stores over five brands, which are located on Denmark’s home islands, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands.
Up until a few years ago, Coop used a regional approach to distribution to its many stores. But it has since consolidated seven mostly manual operations into one automated facility for distributing its nonfood products—a move that has boosted productivity, cut costs, and reduced labor needs.
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