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Supermarket chain implements successful expansion project

The multifaceted project led to the quick development of two large grocery facilities.

Due to an increase in new products and services, along with overall store growth, a U.S.-based natural and organic foods supermarket chain decided to launch an expansion project, which would include two new 135,000-square-foot, multi-temperature grocery facilities on opposite ends of the country.

As it prepared for the multifaceted project, the supermarket chain had a tight implementation timeline, as the second facility was intended to go live two months after the first.

The project offered many challenges and moving parts, including technology and equipment sourcing and implementation, labor and vendor management, third-party logistics (3PL) management and inventory management. All aspects of the project needed to be completed on time and budget while business and a positive customer experience were maintained.

To achieve its goals, the supermarket chain worked with a global software, managed services and consulting solutions provider to create individual project plans, which included operations, IT, facility design and build, materials handling execution and more. The individual project plans were then consolidated into one master plan. This plan included weekly status reviews to ensure the project was on track and would be completed within a designated timeline.

Once the master project plan was compiled, the supermarket chain needed to procure and install materials handling equipment, define the optimal use of a 3PL for the new facilities and manage the transition of the current network inventory into the two new facilities.

The supermarket chain leveraged distribution designs from the provider, which drove the selection and implementation of optimal rack equipment for the facilities. Afterward, the chain used 3PL analysis from the firm to define the best usage of the 3PL within the supermarket chain’s network.

The supermarket chain observed the need for direct labor resources and decided to use the 3PL for this strategic purpose. It diverted the inventory from its incumbent DCs to the new DCs to appropriately match inventory with the reassignment of stores.

Both facilities went live in approximately 11 months—in line with the original project plan. During the process, the supermarket chain was able to maintain business as usual without any disruption to its consistently positive customer experience.

The new facilities—once up and running—optimized labor, equipment, systems, processes and space, all while reducing cost and improving customer service levels across the organization.

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About the Author

Chris Lewis's avatar
Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis is the owner of Innovative Written Solutions, a content development and editorial services company based in Troy, Mich. In addition to developing content for Modern Materials Handing and Material Handling Product News, he has also written for a variety of companies, ranging from Golf Channel to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, as well as industries like engineering, higher education and workforce solutions. He can be reached at lewis.chr[email protected] or
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