LIDL optimises the logistics of its pallet pool thanks to IoT

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While the year 2020 was catastrophic in most sectors due to the health crisis, the major supermarket chains saw their sales jump. Driven by food purchases, they have indeed increased by 8.3% in total (source: Kantar Institute). This situation underlined the essential nature of the pallet as a logistical asset.

Managing a fleet of pallets can lead to additional logistics costs: losses, speed of rotation, clandestine exchanges, etc. With a view to economic and ecological optimisation, Lidl France has set up a logistics visibility project for its pallet pool and pallet pullers.

Why a visibility project at Lidl?

Pallets: clandestinely exchanged load carriers

Europe's largest food retailer uses pallets to deliver products to shops from the warehouse of each regional branch. After unloading, the pallets are returned to the warehouse, where they are collected by the carrier for resale, thus extending their life.

For environmental reasons, Lidl has chosen to use only wooden pallets. The lifespan of these pallets (7 to 10 years) and their energy recovery at the end of their life make them load carriers with a limited carbon footprint.

However, the resale market of wooden pallets is very dynamic. This easily exchangeable status causes irregularities in the return flows (from shops to warehouses). Clandestine exchanges can take place and the pallets then quickly end up abroad or with other companies. These losses and abnormal flows represent a financial loss for Lidl, but may also reflect malicious intent on the part of the partner carriers involved.

By implementing a pallet flow visibility project, Lidl's objectives are to identify trends and areas of illegal trade or resale, to be alerted when entering a critical area, and thus to minimise pallet loss.

Pallet trucks: expensive and strategic equipment

Pallets mean pallet pullers! At Lidl, these materials belong to the DRs' warehouses, but sometimes they get lost.  

Pallet pullers are both costly (around €4000) and strategic: without them, pallets cannot be moved. Losses of pallet pullers are therefore particularly critical.

The Regional Directorates are aware of this, and are pushing for more visibility on thesematerials.

Their objectives are to be able to monitor inventory, retentions and rotations, to be alerted in case of downtime, and thus to manage the pallet truck fleet more efficiently.

Download the full study

  • Find out why Lidl has set up a visibility project on its pallets and pallet pullers.

  • Learn how to implement a "test" approach to your pallet fleet using IoT.

  • What are the best practices for the implementation of such a logistics innovation project?

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Our customers testify

Everysens stood out for its quick understanding of our needs. After 6 months, we have positive feedback on the use of the solution and we are setting up action plans with the regional management to exploit the data obtained.

Jean-Roch Salançon, Head of the Environment Unit
LIDL France