Distribution Center: Order Fulfillment Process

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Distribution centres

Distribution centre is a very integral part of the order fulfilment process. A Distribution centre can also be known as a cross dock facility, a fulfilment centre, package handling centre, etc. The name by which a DC is known, is usually by the purpose of its operations. Coles operates a range of Distribution Centres and facilities to fulfil various purposes. The different kinds of DC’s Coles operates are listed below

Name Description
Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) Fast moving ambient product supplying stores within a state.
National Distribution Centre (NDC) Slow moving ambient product supplying stores across multiple state borders.
Chilled Distribution Centre (CDC) Chilled/ frozen/ some perishable product supplying
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DC acts purely as freight forwarder. This is the least preferred option at Coles.

Coles prefers to deal with suppliers who are B2B compliant. Business to Business (B2B) eCommerce is the process of replacing manual processes with electronic transactions in combination with automatic data capturing technology. “If you want to do business with Coles in the future, you need to become because of the labour savings B2B generates”, says one of the Coles Supply Chain general manager. Distribution Centres too have costs and it makes perfect business sense to schedule the deliveries at the cheapest times to process them.
Coles by employing the B2B process has made sure that the consumers consume the goods at their freshest, as this process enables the information such as batch codes and use-by dates to flow from system to system easily and accurately. This also helps generate faster turnaround time for trucks because the DCs can ‘scan receive’ the stock as opposed to old manual entries. The B2B complaint suppliers at Coles are already looking to use these gains to offset future transport cost increases and providing information to their transport providers about the productivity gains that can be achieved using this
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Coles Supply Chain Reform Objectives

S. No Projects within the transformation Program Project Goals
1 Logistics network reconfiguration • A simpler network of national slow and regional fast facilities
2 Warehouse & Transport management systems • One warehouse management system across all DC’s
• Integrated transport delivering lower costs per case delivered
3 Revised channel flow • Full customer service benefit from reduced direct to store delivery (to < 5%)
• Decreased inbound costs through primary freight control
4 Store processes and product handling • Simplified and safer store life through aisle-friendly deliveries on roll cages, merchandise units and shelf friendly packaging contributing to a lower in store inventory level value
5 Replenishment processes and systems • A single store replenishment system driven from POS data and sales forecasts
• Stores focussed on customer service not replenishment orders
6 Sales & operations planning • Well planned & executed seasonal peaks – eg. Christmas
7 Supplier collaboration & B2B • Customers delighted at near 100% promotions product availability
• Collaborative, paper-free working with

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