back  Pichon Stationery Warehouse

Digital Transformation of the Supply Chain and Information System: The Manutan group is investing in process automation and going paperless for its new Papeteries Pichon logistics centre

4 June 2021

Manutan, the European B2B e-commerce leader specialising in the distribution of equipment and supplies for companies and local authorities, launched its new ultra-automated warehouse in January for its subsidiary Papeteries Pichon, number one in the sale of school supplies in France, based in Veauche, near Saint-Etienne. 

This new centre is a real icon of logistics innovation. In addition to the latest automation processes, a new, much more efficient information system has been put in place. A look back on this exceptional digitalisation project!

Modernisation of the Pichon warehouse logistics tool: a very high level of mechanisation with an adapted IS... 

Launched in January, this new warehousePichon orders aims to anticipate increasingly high order volumes thanks to the increase of storage and preparation surfaces as well as order processing capacities for greater operational efficiency, in particular via process automation. This is a very strong logistics commitment to respond to the peak in activity due to the back-to-school period, which accounts for 80% of the subsidiary's annual turnover

 Pichon Stationery WarehouseThe new logistics platform comprises two order preparation and storage units over 12,000 m2 and 6,000 m2 adjacent to 3,600 m2 of office space, in which 250,000 pickings and 10,000 packages can be processed a day. The site is equipped with a GTP ('Goods to Persons') preparation system design by Savoye, a global player in bespoke logistics solutions based in Dijon. This system has 72 autonomous shuttles with the capacity to transport 40,000 containers. In terms of the stock, the site is equipped with a stacker crane (13,000 pallets) comprising 5 autonomous shuttles. 

All the automation deployed meets growing stock and efficiency targets. At the same time, an information system with just as high performance has been installed: the teams take and forward orders exclusively in digital format. This has enabled us to considerably increase employees' productivity during activity peaks, with a direct impact on the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a tool used by Manutan to measure customer satisfaction.

Profile of Henri AdreitPapeteries Pichon were the only subsidiary, of all those in the Manutan group, to still work with a huge amount of paper files, in particular in customer service. With this new information system, we concretely '“cancelled and replacedold processes to digitalise the whole building and warehouse work chain comments Henri Adreit, Manutan group Technology and Data Director.

The IT teams deployed effective tools, some of which had already been tried and tested within the Group. All this was done while adapting the IS to the particular features of Pichon's business, notably by developing a specific solution for responding to public tenders which are always very detailed.

Papeteries Pichon are the first subsidiary of the Manutan group's “Local Authorities” division to have this totally digitalised information system installed, with adaptations that are appropriate for the sector,” specifies Henri Adreit.

... which means “zero paper” and enhanced teams! 

Beyond the goal of efficiency from thisPichon orders significant digitalisation, Papeteries Pichon's challenge was also to drastically reduce, or even remove paper, which still held a very important position in teams' everyday lives.

A real environmental challenge at the heart of Manutan's values and DNA, Papeteries Pichon has followed the example of other subsidiaries by switching to “zero paper” as soon as web orders are taken, which are now directly integrated in the new ERP. 

Profile of Grégoire KoudrineWe've changed everything, except for the teams! And we would even like to strengthen them with higher added value job creation directly relating to customer challenges,” says Grégoire Koudrine, Group Supply Chain Director at Manutan.

The tone has been set! This ultra-automated supply chain and highly digitalised IS raise the issue of jobs and teams at Papeteries Pichon.
No job has been removed, on the contrary, jobs have been enhanced with upskilling to manage the new tools. Ten new qualified roles have been created dedicated to these innovations, both for the logistics chain and the Information System, such as engineers for the new automated systems, a supply chain project manager and maintenance technicians for new technologies.

Furthermore, as the Group has adopted very innovative digital tools, it naturally appeared necessary that the teams should take ownership of them. Manutan has therefore created a training plan for “key users”, in particular for the warehouse part and order taking/after-sales. Following these quite long training periods, these users were in turn able to train their teams on all the new tools.