Since October, Decathlon has been testing a new technological solution in several Belgian stores in Belgium to optimise the so-called 'last-mile logistics'.
Woop, a daughter company of the Association Familiale Mulliez (AFM), has developed the new logistics platform. The system proposes several possible delivery scenarios taking into account pre-defined criteria such as price, deadline, environmental impact, etc. This resolution has already been implemented at two hundred warehouses of the parent company, more specifically for the Auchan, Leroy Merlin and Norauto chains. Since October, a trial run has also taken place in some Belgian Decathlon branches.
In practice, the platform will link to the distributors' information systems for picking up transport orders. The system then optimises these orders by selecting the best possible carrier for said delivery. "We have been testing this logistics solution in Belgium for four months," says Pierre-Louis Cospain of Decathlon International to LSA. "We launched a few trial orders in September. The system then got rolled out in three stores in October, and by now it is used in six branches."
The technological innovation is part of Decathlon's global strategy in Belgium, where the company focuses on 'ship from store', delivering directly from the store. "Lockdown has accelerated this process, and Woop's solution enables us to better distribute orders between the warehouses and the stores," continues Cospain. The approach offers a two-pronged perspective: on the one hand relying on stores' stock, on the other hand unburdening the logistic flow.
In the long run, everything should lead to faster and more eco-friendly deliveries. At the moment in Belgium, Decathlon only works with Bpost, the national mail service, but that could change very quickly. Deliveries by bike are also being considered.
According to the retailer, the system has proven itself considerably during the past lockdown. Soon, Decathlon intends to introduce this solution across the whole of Belgium and internationally (including Germany, the United Kingdom and France).