Anker meets Christmas rush

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Christmas product supplier Anker International supplies nearly 85 per cent of its goods during the Christmas peak so turned to Dachser to help it cope with seasonal demand.

The company, which is part of International Greetings, sees a sharp rise is demand during the Christmas supply period which runs from July until mid-November.

It runs its own fully racked warehouse with cross-dock capabilities and a capacity for some 30,000 pallets, but this proved to be insufficient for peak storage requirements.

Anker experienced similar problems with distribution activity during the Christmas period as its sub-contracted hauliers struggled to cope with increased volumes.

The company initially appointed a national network distribution provider but the system could not deal with the large volumes involved and service levels to customers were compromised.

Margaret Gaunt, Anker’s operations director, says: “While the seasonality of our peaks is predictable, the volumes and short-term lead times of orders can be erratic and extreme.”
Anker began working with Dachser in 2002 when the logistics service provider supplied around 1,200 pallets of short-term pre-Christmas seasonal storage as its Northampton logistics centre.

Following this, Dachser proposed its freight management concept in order to solve Anker’s overriding problems of short-term peak capacity organisation.

Dachser began its palletised distribution service for Anker the following year and by the end of 2009 handled some 14,000 consignments comprising 9,200 tonnes of product.

Dachser’s UK managing director, Nick Lowe says: “We took a holistic view of the various challenges to efficient product distribution presented by Anker’s particular seasonal market demands. We began by using a combination of short-distance vehicles from our Northampton-based fleet for deliveries in the Midlands, with a range of existing long-distance options, which included our membership of the UK pallets network.”

Some existing staff members from Anker’s distribution department transferred to Dachser’s employment, under TUPE auspices and retaining full preceding employment rights and benefits. 

These employees were augmented by a supervisor transferred from Dachser’s Northampton office. All staff remained on-site at Anker’s Newport Pagnell facility with the unit being run as an implant operation.

Full EDI functionality was set up by the two companies’ respective IT teams, resulting in reduced administration time and errors in consignment booking and data transfer, as well as efficiencies in post-shipment administration. 

Web-based access to Dachser’s cargo tracking system also helped Anker, enabling interrogation of consignment status information and the crucial retrieval of electronically archived proof-of-delivery.

A simple, pallet-based tariff for UK, Dutch and Irish distribution was established and resulted in greater transparency of costs, creating savings from day one. These savings were enhanced by personnel costs now being fully accounted as a Dachser overhead.
Additionally, a more structured, prompt and open procedure for handling insurance claims has led to more timely settlements and greater customer satisfaction.


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