Successful launch of Euro Pool System trays for Auchan

Testimonial of Réginald Desrousseaux, Logistics Flow Manager, Auchan

Since 2014, Auchan has been using reusable rather than metal roll trays, to optimize the performance of its meat supply chain but also to improve the working and manipulation conditions for users. Thus, for the French brand’s specific needs, the company Euro Pool System created stackable nest trays (800 x 600 x 229 mm) for the beef, veal and lamb sector and folding trays (600 x 400 x 115 mm and 600x400x165mm) for the pork industry. These new trays can be combined with an adapted dolly and lid, therefore facilitating their handling.

"All the formats and specifications of these trays have been carefully studied in collaboration with the actors of the Supply Chain in order to make the solution best suited to everyone’s constraints" confirms Patrice Jorge, Director of Euro Pool System France.

Following testing on pilot sites and validation by Auchan France’s Butcher Committee, the new trays have been deployed in stores and with industry partners at a national level.  In total, more than 150,000 new trays and RFID equipped carts are circulating in a closed circuit system with guaranteed monitoring and traceability from end to end. The project integrates all Auchan suppliers, 135 stores, 8 distribution centres and 2 cleaning centres.

Positive feedback of this new logistics solution was not long in coming and reassured Réginald Desrousseaux, Logistics Flow Manager, Auchan, in its implementation despite encountering some reluctance from the profession. "It has been at least 20 years since we first spoke about changing the ready-to-cut meat containers. I arrived at Auchan’s Logistics Management three years ago with this desire for change and I finally feel a real desire coming from distributors and industry players to integrate the use of the new reusable trays in our logistic circuits."

Safety and reduction of MSD

The first advantage that meets one of the most important objectives is the reduction of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and of staff accidents in the workplace. They have been reduced through comprehensive security for handling both in-store and on platforms but also during industrial order preparation for various reasons - weight, shape, the workability of new containers as highlighted by Réginald Desrousseaux:

"With this new solution, empty container weight has been divided by three. We have effectively gone from a metal roll of 100kg when empty to 7 plastic trays on a cart on casters, with a total weight of 38kg. 62kg less to handle is not negligible. In addition, trays on trolleys are much more manageable and reinforce safety at work by the presence of wheels equipped with a brake. Another advantage: the rounded edges of the trays are not sharp as those of metal rolls. Thanks to all these features of the plastic tray, we are pleased to note a significant drop in accidents at work and MSD from suppliers and on the platforms and in shops."

Improvement of hygiene

With this new solution, Reginald Desrousseaux also welcomes the new provisions on hygiene with the establishment of washing units in compliance with the latest standards: "Companies who own their metal rolls have full responsibility for their cleanliness. These rolls have a tendency to oxidize through washing. Cleaning and maintenance was a very high cost for suppliers. Today, the cleaning of these trays is fully managed by approved cleaning centres allowing for quality washing in accordance with food standards. Another benefit to hygiene we are seeing from the use of these trays: this solution results in fewer leakages (less breakage) during transport and different manipulations, because of the rounded edges of the trays.”

Optimization, reduction of transport costs and a better carbon footprint

On the economic front, this solution reduces the costs of carriage returns for Auchan. “It optimizes the loading of trucks with the use of folding and stackable packaging. Downstream, empty return of these containers from Auchan stores to platforms has been divided by 4 thanks to this built-in function. Similarly, for transit upstream, the surface used in a semi-trailer is reduced by 14% with the 600/800 format. In addition, we noted a large number of half-empty rolls. The adaptability of these containers to the degree of filling also has a huge advantage. As they are modular, the number of trays corresponds exactly to the needs of the company or the distributor." explains Réginald Desrousseaux.

Euro Pool System has also optimized logistics flows. In the traditional stream, companies engaged their products via platforms but had to sometimes manage in store or platform retrieval. It was a very complex mesh with low optimization of trucks. Euro Pool System has thus implemented synergies, with mass concentration on the platforms and retrieval of all packaging by full truckload, made available to all users.

"Thanks to the standardisation of these reusable trays, we were able to develop an efficient logistical organisation facilitating the pooling of the park and as a result, obtain a utilisation rate superior to 85% thanks to the RFID tracking on the packaging, despite the level of seasonality" notes Patrice Jorge.

"My wish would be to federate the actors of the sector and that the beef industry also be as innovative as the companies specialized in pork who eliminated metal caddies carrying pork in favour of plastic trays at least 15 years ago." concludes Réginald Desrousseaux.