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The phenomenal growth achieved by this discount variety retailer has enabled the business to go from strength to strength. And, that’s partly due to some shrewd decision-making about the running of its supply chain operation, and its strong partnership with Ligentia.
All businesses aspire to grow. But some find that when they grow too big, too fast, they can struggle to cope with demand – not least in their supply chain. By contrast, the phenomenal growth achieved by one of our customers, a discount variety retailer, has enabled the business to go from strength to strength. And, that’s partly due to some shrewd decision-making about the running of its supply chain operation, and its strong partnership with Ligentia.
The customer has three retail brands, with over 4,500 stores in 21 countries across Europe serving 50 million shoppers each month, and the business runs its own sourcing operation with offices across South and East Asia, delivering $1bn of goods annually from mainland China, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Part of the retailer’s strategy is to create value through an accelerated store expansion programme, opening new locations all the time.
Our partnership with this customer dates back to 2013, at which point volumes were around 2,500 TEU. In 2023, the business is forecast to achieve circa 70,000 TEU. With that kind of rapid growth, supply chains achieve a complexity that requires the level of visibility only advanced technology can provide.
To provide that, the retailer chose Ligentix, our cloud-based platform, which enables users to visualise their entire end-to-end supply chain in real-time, or drill down for granular detail about its performance.
As a business that was growing fast – but in a sector notoriously reliant on the ebb and flow of the global economy and consumer spending – the customer needed a scalable solution. It also wanted to leverage our technological expertise and experience, which would enable it to focus on its core business of retail, while we looked after making its expanding supply chain more efficient.
In a sector such as discount retail, where the monetary value of products is often relatively low, efficiencies are extremely important to minimise any unnecessary costs.
Such retailers have faced challenges in recent years from the high cost of freight, which has at times exceeded the value of the goods being transported. Our solution has enabled the customer to achieve greater visibility of its supply chain and, as a result, greater control over it.
Acting as a fourth party logistics (4PL) provider, we manage third parties along the supply chain on their behalf, whether that’s customs clearance agencies, hauliers or shipping lines.
We handle all of the business’s international sea freight from Asia, overseeing orders going to Poland, Romania and Hungary where the customer’s three distribution centres are located.
While the customer has the majority of its own sea freight contracts direct with shipping lines which we manage on their behalf, we provide the remaining space that they require. Once goods have arrived in Europe, we facilitate customs clearance and the transport of goods to DC, as well as warehousing whenever it is needed.
Our role as a 4PL, managing the customer’s supply chain on its behalf, means that it has theflexibility it needs – whether that’s to move into new territories, or change from one carrier to another.
It’s this flexibility that gives the customer the ability to rapidly expand, with our technology able to be deployed in whichever new geography it plans to enter next, rather than the business having to deal with new partners in unfamiliar territories.
Our role as supply chain partner has meant that while its volumes have increased dramatically over the course of the relationship, the supply chain team has not needed to expand in tandem.
As the company has changed and grown, we have also been able to make changes to Ligentix as required, enabling feeds from the customer’s systems into the platform. Our adjustments on their behalf have enabled efficiencies to be made, even as their volumes have increased.
This long-term partnership has helped to enable the business’ expansion as a result of one of Ligentia’s core strengths: our people always go the extra mile, extending our customers’ capabilities, and supported by the best technology in the logistics industry.