Al Maya Group is a Dubai based conglomerate which has multiple business verticals: Food and non-food products and over 90 retail stores in the Middle East including supermarkets, international bookstores, franchises, and many other lifestyle retail stores. In the food sector, the company serves the major supermarket chains in the region. Handling sensitive and temperature-controlled goods is a challenge – especially because Al Maya has to offer a wide range of products to all the major retailers in the region through their distribution operations. All of this requires well-functioning logistics. In order to manage the existing processes and also be prepared for the future, the company decided to automate the processes in the central distribution center for all the sectors with the EPG ONE™ Warehouse Management System (LFS). Al Maya also requested the consulting services of EPG to design the different storage solutions and the overall structure of the warehouse. The goal of having a state-of-the-art distribution center with a WMS was achieved within a very short time – and without interrupting ongoing operations.
“We are very satisfied with the course of the project, with the support of the EPG team on-site and with the overall planning," says Bharat Korwani, IT Manager of Al Maya Group. "The efficiency and level of detail with which the entire project was carried out really impressed us.”
As one of the largest FMCG distributors in the UAE, Al Maya supplies to all the major retail stores in the region. The focus of the product range in the distribution division is on fresh products purchased directly from the countries of origin. Premium customers of their distribution division include Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket and other retail stores including their own supermarket chain Al Maya Supermarkets. All the business areas in which Al Maya operates follow very different and unique logistical rules. In addition, the variety of products to be stored is vast and requires the greatest sensitivity in handling, especially in the food segment. Up to 2.500 different articles must be managed. The main objective is to handle the goods based on best-before dates and in compliance with the FiFo (first in, first out) principle.
Al Maya forecasted this requirement much in advance and their prediction was right, due to the increasing order volume, operations can no longer be managed based on old platforms.
Warehouse matrix for optimum warehouse planning and automated processes
EPG's logistics experts developed a warehouse matrix to meet Al Maya's requirements, based on the key characteristics to be met in terms of the warehouse structure and business requirements. As a result, EPG designed various storage areas and temperature-controlled zones that also considered the specific requirements of the individual business units. The introduction of customer classes A, B and C divides the distribution center into reasonable units. Before this classification, the handling of the goods, and the stock overview were mainly dependent on the experience of individual employees. The FiFo handling and the secure administration of best-before dates were not possible without errors. Due to the different storage zones – rack storage, pallet floor, filling stations and floor storage – the product groups can now be clearly assigned. LFS ensures automatic control of the storage areas and offers maximum transparency of the current stock. If required, replenishment is requested automatically. EPG’s warehouse management system LFS also controls the sorting of goods according to BBD (best-before-date), to product group and customer. The orders receive an assigned storage location upon receipt. Order processing is highly reliable in LFS: The warehouse management system controls picking in sequences and, depending on the products ordered, according to priority and shelf life. The goods are assembled on pallets and then loaded onto trucks according to the sequencing so that the goods of the customer who is supplied first are loaded last. More than 700 orders are processed in Al Maya’s distribution center daily.
EPG organized the processes in the new 22.000m² distribution center and planned the move of goods to this new warehouse facility – without interrupting day-to-day operations.
“LFS has helped us to manage our inventory and overall logistics operations for our FMCG distribution division in the most effective way,” says Bharat Korwani. “Also, this brought a strict control over the operation. It also gave us complete visibility to our stock and also helped us in BBD maintenance.”
As a result of the implementation of LFS, we have an effective supply chain operation now and Al Maya is able to deliver the goods to our customers on time. Bharat Korwani sums up: “We were always able to count on EPG during the entire process changeover and the move – so we are confident that we will rely on the logistics experts for future projects.” Within a short span of time, Al Maya decided to introduce EPG’s warehouse management system in two more divisions.