Jumbo Supermarkten was established in 1921 and has grown to become the largest privately-owned supermarket chain in the Netherlands with seven strategically located distribution centres serving more than 580 stores across the country. Jumbo’s reputation is built on providing the best service combined with offering the widest range at the lowest cost and its continuing success depends upon absolute reliability in the distribution chain. From its distribution centre at Veghel, Netherlands, a highly efficient logistics hub, some 1.4 million ambient and fresh items are picked and despatched each week – and on-time deliveries are key to the success of the operation.
Maintaining Jumbo’s reputation for top-quality service, the widest product range and the lowest cost, means that the company must constantly be looking for ways to improve efficiency and productivity. With the introduction of on-line ordering, timely deliveries had become ever more vital, with customer satisfaction depending upon speedy and seamless operation in Jumbo’s order picking and distribution chain. Trials with AGVs – which would have meant substantial investment cost – had produced little improvement in productivity. A more cost-effective solution that would generate efficiency gains while reducing operator fatigue leading to greater job satisfaction was required.