Norbert Dentressagle has opened a custom-built 205,000 sq ft distribution centre for French home retail brand La Redoute in Poland.
The site, which took six months to build, has been operational since December 2007 and provides sorting and packing facilities for the company’s customers in Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Greece, Italy and Austria.
This is the first contract Norbert Dentressangle has won with the company, which until now has always handled its warehousing in-house. La Redoute will continue to provide all transport from the distribution centre to end customers.
Olivier Izard, managing director of La Redoute owner Redcat, said the company had been working for the past 15 years to develop the brand internationally and now has 11 subsidiaries in Europe accounting for 43 per cent of its annual sales. However, the brand is not currently available for delivery to Polish customers.
He added that central and northern Europe offered important market potential that the new distribution centre would help to fulfil.
The warehouse is 12m high, has 16 gates and 2,900 pallet places in addition to three floors of racking.
Each day the centre receives two truck loads from La Redoute’s central warehouse in France, which have to be integrated within 24 hours.
Upon arrival each pallet is scanned and individual pieces are given a barcode so they can be traced throughout the warehouse, before being moved from the docks to their location in the warehouse.
More than 250 people currently work at the warehouse, handling some 15,000 orders each day, a total of 45,000 pieces as each customer on average will purchase three items at a time.
Orders are collated using a global picking and successive sorting system developed by the Norbert Dentressangle logistics team. All orders, regardless of where they are headed, are initially picked, given a new barcode and mixed together. These are then sorted into four to six smaller groups, which are then sorted again into location-specific crates along with all invoices and marketing material.
Orders then get scanned again at one of 66 packing stations to make sure the system has worked before they are sealed up and put into a sack and taken along a conveyor to be packed into area-specific pallets ready to be picked up by the delivery trucks in the dock.
Each pallet is then scanned for the last time before leaving the warehouse.
As 30 to 40 per cent of all items sent to customers are returned, the site also has a dedicated returns section with 48 stations.
All returned items are first consolidated in each country’s post office before being sent on to the Polish distribution centre.
Parcels are then dealt with in two steps. Firstly they are opened and identified via their barcode and booked onto the customer’s account via La Redoute’s system. Then they are quality checked and put into new packaging and issued with a new barcode before being reintegrated into the warehouse.
On the same day as the official opening of the La Redoute distribution centre the first pallet was delivered to Norbert Dentressangle’s new Polish site for Avon cosmetics.
The company also operates a warehouse for Michelin tyres in the country which has been operational since 2006.
Norbert Dentressangle now has more than one million square feet of warehousing space in Poland.