When Saint Louis Sucre decided to install a tailor-made system in one of its service centres, it turned to its long-standing partner, the pallet pooling specialist LPR-La Palette Rouge (a Division of Euro Pool Group). LPR was once again able to show how it can effectively meet the needs of the mass-market food retail sector, which has increasingly been automating its processes for several years.
At the Saint Louis Sucre packaging site in Roye, about forty kilometres from Amiens, quality is essential. To guarantee its competitiveness, the plant has been gearing up to automate its production facilities for several years. Many processes have already been automated: sugar reception, packaging, and especially the removal and storage of finished products. LPR supplies an average monthly total of 14,500 pallets for the various production stages. It has become essential to optimise and guarantee the reliability of this process, with impeccable pallet quality.
“What makes logistics at Roye Conditionnement special is its highly automated equipment. The handling and storage of pallets of finished products is fully automated. To ensure the proper functioning of this automated facility, Saint Louis Sucre decided to install specific equipment to measure pallet quality before use. The pallets must comply with extremely precise dimensional criteria and be sufficiently robust to avoid any malfunction requiring manual work, which is extremely time-consuming” explains Sandra Demay, the on-site Supply Chain Projects Manager. To protect the machinery and improve workplace safety – employees sometimes have to manipulate pallets at height – the company has enhanced inspection requirements when pallets enter the machine .
Continuous improvement to meet operational requirements
Saint Louis Sucre therefore asked LPR to help it meet these high standards. To reduce the rejection rate, and avoid round trips of pallets between sites, LPR has chosen to deploy a tailor-made solution for its customer, as Nicolas Pramil, Sales Manager at LPR, explains. “Saint Louis Sucre has two constraints: precise pallet calibration for the stacker crane plus a hydrometry requirement for the pallets, as any residual moisture they contain can solidify the powdered sugar. We therefore decided to design a line specially for Saint Louis at our Marolles service centre, near Paris. It includes a grader that rejects pallets that don’t meet the agreed criteria, and a dryer to meet the hydrometric requirements before delivery to the Roye plant.”
Success based on partnership at the personal level
The installation of this tailor-made line is the result of a close partnership between the two companies and their respective representatives. Both at Saint Louis Sucre and at LPR’s Marolles service centre, staff are continuously trained in LEAN/5S. On the Saint Louis side, the involvement was also total. Sandra Demay and the team in charge of the daily logistics operations at the Roye site – supervisors and 6 forklift operators and pallet users – visited the LPR service centre to learn about the processes and get as much feedback as possible. “We have a common approach to logistics and continuous improvement. Our objective was therefore to be open about sharing our know-how and to get this tailor-made line set up for them,” explains Nicolas Pramil.
This two-year project has led to rapid and positive results and has consolidated the 5S approach followed at Saint Louis. The pallet rejection rate has dropped considerably, by nearly 10%. (Average rejection rate: 2015 = 15%, 2018 = 6%, a gain of 8 points .) For Sandra Demay, “LPR's responsiveness and investment have helped bring down rejects significantly and rapidly.” As Project Manager she considers that “LPR really took up the challenge of adapting to the reality of our plant, and this project has been a great example of partnership between the two companies.”
LPR has shown that it can adapt to the needs of its customers in increasingly automated environments. Finally, and this is certainly LPR's core value, that it sees people as being the most important aspect of its projects. "No matter how much we automate, if we don't get women and men around the same table to work together and find solutions, we can't do it,” says Hervé Fourcade, LPR's Sales Director. “This is precisely what we did with Saint Louis Sucre”, an approach that explains in large part the trust based on fifteen years of collaboration.
About LPR-La Palette Rouge
LPR - La Palette Rouge, a division of the Euro Pool Group, has been specialised in pallet-pooling for 25 years, operating exclusively in the fast-moving consumer goods sector. Thanks to its acknowledged expertise, customer focus and a network of more than 125 service centres, LPR provides a full pallet service to its customers and their retail partners throughout Europe. Using its reusable pallet system , its customers are able to reduce their environmental impact and thereby contribute to the transition to a circular economy across the entire supply chain. www.lpr.eu
About Euro Pool Group
Euro Pool Group is the largest logistics service provider of reusable standard packaging in Europe. Euro Pool Group is composed of two divisions, Euro Pool System (EPS) and La Palette Rouge (LPR). www.europoolgroup.com