Swiss food giant, Nestle has recently opened its 1st smart direct-to-consumer (DTC) fulfillment center in China in collaboration with Alibaba Group’s logistics arm Cainiao Network.
Cainiao said its logistics and automated systems will maximize productivity and reduce manual labor at Nestle’s automated DTC fulfillment center in Suzhou city.
Cainiao supplied 40 AGV robots to replace manual product picking in sorting facilities, which is estimated to quadruple fulfillment center efficiency compared to Nestle’s other warehouses which utilise human workers only. The robots can carry products to packing lines to save time and effort for the 20-odd staff working at the 2,000 sq.meter fulfillment center during off-peak seasons.
Cainiao also said that its smart supply chain helps Nestle to manage market changes effectively. For example, during the pandemic, social restrictions imposed by local governments in China have prompted many warehouses to shut down. Going forward, Nestle can shift order fulfillment to its DTC center to support the rise in customer demand in some regions.
Yura Zou, Head of eBusiness Supply Chain at Nestle Greater China said, “This brings us the elasticity and stability that we value the most, especially when facing external uncertainty.”
The fulfillment center will support Nestle’s expansion into the DTC sector while supporting order fulfillment across all of Nestle e-commerce operations in China, including the Starbucks At Home line from the Seattle coffee chain.
Wan Lin, CEO of Cainiao Network said, “With an eye on the long-term, we strive to support Nestle with holistic and sustainable supply chain services.”