CHEP Leverages Virtual Reality and Hands-On Interaction to Demonstrate the Advantage of Half Pallets for Store Fulfillment

At Store2017 in Toronto, CHEP provides an opportunity for show attendees to experience the look and feel of how the company’s half pallet can reduce labor costs by up to 75%, increase sales up to 30%.

In a booth that can be conservatively described as one of CHEP’s most unique and interactive to date, the company has leveraged Virtual Reality (VR) to give customers an interactive in-store product fulfillment experience. It allows the user to visualize and participate in a retail store fulfillment exercise and learn “hands on” the value of easy CHEP Half Pallet replenishment versus manually stocking shelves with individual sales units.

The VR platform shows users how CHEP can help retailers reduce labor costs and increase sales with its Store Fulfillment Solutions. CHEP’s robust 40×24-inch shared (pooled) half pallet can reduce warehouse handling costs by up to 25%, decrease in-store labor costs by up to 75%, lower shelf replenishment time by up to 65% and increase sales by up to 30%.

By placing unit loads on half pallets directly into the base of the aisle, which CHEP refers to as in-line replenishment, touch labor is significantly reduced. Additionally, by eliminating single case picking and stacking at the distribution center for shipment to retail, damage is also curtailed.

A recent CHEP Store Fulfillment Solutions case study shows how CHEP helped a leading soup company improve the quality and performance of its in-store merchandise displays by using CHEP half pallets. The company is now using CHEP half pallets for 100% of its in-store displays.

CHEP Already Utilizing Virtual Reality in Europe, Store Fulfillment a Good Fit in North America

“CHEP has been using Virtual Reality in Europe for about a year now,” explained Brandon D’Emidio, Director of Product Management and Innovation, CHEP North America. “It has been working out extremely well, so it is something that the CHEP North America team really wanted to explore. One area we have identified as a good fit is store fulfillment, especially when you are talking about half pallets.

“We developed an experience where you can take out a hand cart and stock a shelf the way you would currently, or as a new alternative, pick up a half pallet with a pump truck to position it in-line,” D’Emidio continued. “This first step allows you to show retailers what their store would look like.”

George Brehovsky, Director of Store Fulfillment for CHEP Canada, reported that his team has found VR to be a powerful tool versus using a video or powerpoint presentation when meeting with a client. “It ‘s incredible what happens when you can project onto a screen and have a customer become immersed into how the concept looks and feels,” he said. “It allows customers to fully experience the concepts we are portraying.”

Brehovsky, D’Emidio and CHEP are looking for VR to provide impactful answers to key retailer questions such as:

  • How are these pallets going to look in my store?
  • What impact will they have on the shopping experience of my customers?
  • How does in-line fulfillment with half pallets lead to reduced labor cost and damage?

Brehovsky observed that VR also provides a first step to half pallet pilot tests in stores.

40×24-Inch Half Pallets Offer Flexibility and Stability

According to D’Emidio, the flexibility of being accessible on all four sides is creating significant interest among customers from around North America for in-line (under the aisle shelf) replenishment, as well as through utilizing 24-inch facings. Another benefit not lost on retailers, he stressed, is the opportunity for the half pallet to more readily navigate through narrow openings in congested areas or cooler doors.

Brehovsky pointed out that the 40×24-inch CHEP half pallet is very stable, which allows it to be double stacked, “which is a big component in the Canadian supply chain to ensure that load fill is optimized.” (Read our article, The Role of Half Pallets.)

MHE Requirements

Regarding material handling equipment requirements for the CHEP 40×24-inch half pallet from all four sides, a pump jack with a 21-inch span is required. Appropriate 21-inch jacks are offered by all leading vendors, D’Emidio stated, and these are also compatible for handling full sized pallets. The 27-inch span has been the standard in the grocery industry, although one major Canadian grocery retailer has purchased 21-inch jacks across most of its network.

What About the 48×20-Inch Half?

For several years, CHEP Canada has offered a 48×20-inch half pallet. According to Brehovsky, the leading pallet pool provider plans to maintain its availability to meet demand. “Our position in the Canadian marketplace is that we continue to offer choice for our customers,” he said. “The 48×20 has been the existing standard. But what we are seeing now, is that there have been some limitations.”

And so enters that half-sized powerhouse for labor cost reduction, the curbing of product damage, and sales uptick, the 40×24-inch half pallet.  “From a supply chain perspective,” D’Emidio said, “it all fits into the bigger picture of where we are going, and where are customers are going. We are learning from our clients every day. And as we talk to supply chain people, buyers and CPG we continue to learn. Our value proposition continues to evolve.”

For more information, visit CHEP’s website at www.chep.com or the CHEP YouTube channel.   Get social on Twitter @CHEPna and LinkedIn.