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Authors: Susanne-Kirsten Mueller, Corinna Stein

Pictures: Stefan Behrendt


In the post A Strawberry Yoghurt caught in the Retail Supply Chain – Part 1 we described the journey of a strawberry yoghurt when moving along the retail supply chain. We described a process that involves many stakeholders and activities, and finally, the consumer Lisa could buy more strawberry yoghurts.

Unfortunately, we are not living in this perfect world. Things may go wrong and need special attention and resolution.

Intra Logistics

Let’s have a glance into the warehouse. Retail warehouses are normally huge, as Retailers have big assortments. So, there are a lot of warehouse activities and warehouse assets involved, including vehicles like forklifts. For Jane’s warehouse team it’s important to monitor and track vehicle utilization and keeping the vehicles in working order, as well as tracking and monitoring fleet and driver operations. Delays in picking the goods due to technical and human faults have a high impact on Jim, the truck driver’s, job and especially on on-shelf availability and customer satisfaction in Ed’s supermarket.

Yard Management

Retailers must handle a high turnover in warehouses and in most cases under time pressure. For example, delivery windows in stores need to be met (e.g. for fresh products). In the distribution center goods issue is much more complex than goods receive. The focus must be on fast, reliable and effective procedures. The strawberry yoghurt and the truck must be at the same time at the same loading door.

We also need to consider that there are many different buildings or areas in the yard, for

  • Empties, returned waste, fresh or frozen assortments, dry goods, and big tickets,

  • Bakery, meat production ….

A close monitoring and control of incoming and outgoing activities for the sake of security and food traceability is important. The yard gives access to many different external parties. It’s key, never to lose track of assets in the yard and identify and remove bottle necks.

Cold Chain and sensors

The strawberry yoghurt is on the road again. Suddenly there is an alarm. The sensors in the truck are reporting an increase in the cooling temperature. The strawberry yoghurt is not feeling very well!

Based on this real-time status information truck driver Jim and the transportation manager can decide jointly, how to solve this problem:

  • The delivery can continue to the planned destination.

  • The truck with the poor strawberry yoghurt is re-routed to a store with enough cooling capacities.

  • Worst case would be to send a replacement truck – long warm waiting time for our yoghurt.

Attempted burglary

After this exciting incident and due to his maximum driving time, Jim needs a break. So, he drives to the next parking lot and takes his rest. Suddenly, the next alarm sounds. Someone opened the sealed loading door and another sensor was triggered. A thief tried to steal some of the expensive freight that is on the truck together with the strawberry yoghurt.

Traffic Jam

What a day for our strawberry yoghurt and truck driver Jim!

Jim continues on his road to the store. You can image what happens? The truck is stuck in a traffic jam! Having this real-time information, Ed the store manager can update his planning of the store employees based on the automatically updated time of arrival. Until the truck arrives he can assign his team to other tasks instead of unloading the truck. Fortunately, there is still some time left until the store opens when Jim arrives at the store.

Lisa is shopping again

This day, Lisa is back in the store for additional strawberry yoghurts. And today she is not thinking about empty shelfs – thanks to Ed’s, Connor’s, Jim’s, and Jane’s jobs during the night – but she minds about the origin of her yoghurt and the ingredients.

So, she asks Ed and he can direct her to the store’s homepage and show the link she can use to get more details.

SAP solutions covered

We hope you now have a better understanding of how challenging and exciting the journey of a strawberry yoghurt can be when moving along the logistics supply chain.

T-shirts from fashion retailers or TV sets from electronic stores experience similar adventures.

SAP offers a wide set of functionalities going hand in hand that organize, monitor and optimize movements along the logistics supply chain.

The story recorded in a video

Related SAP Solution blogs for Retail Digital Logistics and SAP Leonardo

Watch out for further information on how SAP’s Digital Logistics and SAP Leonardo solutions are driving the retail supply chain!