Pallet and Crate Returns: Eroski Selects Euro Pool System for Mercamadrid Reverse Logistics

Spanish supermarket chain Eroski has subcontracted the return logistics at its Distribution Centre (DC) in Mercamadrid to logistics service provider Euro Pool System. By optimizing the integration of logistics processes, both organizations are able to save costs. The service was launched October 1, 2010,

Eroski and Euro Pool System have been working together intensively since 1998. Eroski suppliers pack vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and bakery products in green and blue reusable, foldable containers from Euro Pool System. The number of containers used amounts to some 55 million circulations a year. Euro Pool System also provides several complementary logistics services including cleaning packaging in DCs, leasing of automatic order picking systems, and managing two return centres. As of 1 October, the return centre in Mercamadrid has been added to this list.

Cost optimization

“Eroski wants to control the costs of its return flows,” explained Julio Lázaro Badenas, Logistics Manager from Euro Pool System. “As experts in return logistics, Euro Pool System can organize these processes more efficiently and professionally”

“The new situation at Mercamadrid prevents double work and thus requires less labour, produces better information and takes up fewer square metres,” Badenas commented. “Both organizations benefit from this. Another unique feature is that the return centre is located in the DC.”

A Leaner Approach, Compressed Footprint

“We take care of unloading empty packaging from the trucks,” Badenas elaborated. “We register and check the number of pallets returned from the shops. Next, our staff sort the packaging according to colour and type with an automatic conveyor belt, this information is matched with the number of issued containers, so that we can inform Eroski about the number of packages in circulation.

“Every day we deliver the sorted pallets to our nearby service centre, where we clean and reissue the packaging. At the end of the day the return centre is empty, where formerly pallets with unsorted containers took up a lot of space. That is why we now only need 435 m2 in the DC instead of 1100 m2. Eroski can now use this valuable space for other purposes.”

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