One virus, twelve weeks of 'peak season' in food retailing, seven days of work per week, three shifts per day, 20% more workload daily, up to 300% more workload on peak days, one technical breakdown, four sick employees, stagnant construction sites due to travel restrictions – this sums up the pandemic from WITRON’s perspective.
Food retailers and logistics service providers were faced with tremendous challenges, while other sectors had to implement lockdowns, reduce working hours and demand employees take vacations.
Well-calculated decisions, flexible solutions, as well as committed cooperation from all players in the supply chain – suppliers, logistics centres, service providers, stores – were required to maintain basic supply at all times and avoid bottlenecks as much as possible.
Christian Dietl, CEO of WITRON services, commented, “Together with our customers, we have kept the warehouses running; we have never experienced such a rush. And this was not only in one country, but in the US, Canada, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, and in the Benelux countries.”
Retailers were struggling with enormous order volumes across the globe. At REMA in Norway, for example, volumes were four times higher than the previous year.
Peter Bayer from Edeka Handelsgesellschaft Rhein-Ruhr, added, “In March, April, May, and through to mid-June, the panic-related shopping habits of consumers presented us with major logistical challenges.
"During this time, WITRON’s automation technology with its readiness and performance made a significant contribution to meet the needs of our customers.”
As European cities entered went into lockdown, throughput in the stores increased, causing logistics centres to run at full speed.
Truck drivers were no longer allowed to enter distribution centres, and the staff in the logistics centres had to handle incoming goods.
During this period, WITRON's technicians developed efficient concepts to keep the system performance high at all times.
Fabien Roy, logistics manager at Sobeys in Canada, added, “I have always said that we have the best team because there is only one team at the Terrebonne distribution centre, consisting of Sobeys and WITRON colleagues.”