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By Eric Le Mignon, General Manager Supply Chain Intermarché

"Supply Chain is a corporate culture"

At the end of December, the sale of self-tests in supermarkets was authorised until 31 January. The supply chain played a major and little-known role in this. At Intermarché, the objective is, as soon as a plane lands, to be able to deliver the 2160 points of sale throughout France, in 24 hours. As with the masks in March 2020, we need to be able to adapt permanently to unforeseen situations. We have used our national massification warehouse adapted to all suppliers with low rotations and volumes, and thus complement our trucks serving our 17 fresh bases in France every day.

There was no question of delivering full pallets, we had to respond and adapt to the needs of each POS, both Hyper and Express. Some have very little storage space and demand is therefore very variable. This organisational flexibility in the context of this crisis was magnified by 90% integrated logistics. 

This policy has given us an additional capacity to mobilise, motivate and raise awareness among all employees. When there is a fire, everyone is there! In 2020, on the first Saturday after the COVID, I was at a base in Saint Hilaire at 7.30am. I talked to three preparers in a preparation aisle. I asked them what they wanted to tell me. To sum up what I retained: one said "We are afraid", the second "We are present and we will do the job Mr. Le Mignon" and the third "Thank you for coming". This was the spirit that animated all my teams but I suppose also that of the other companies in the retail sector. After hearing this, I only had one desire: to go and visit all the bases in France.

The hunt for unicorns is on!

In the world of supply chain, spectacular fund-raising is taking place at a steady pace. Last week, for example, Exotec raised a whopping $335 million from an international pool of investors. Founded in 2014, this young French company, specialising in robotic order preparation, was at the same time valued at... 2 billion dollars and became de facto the first French industrial unicorn. A few days earlier, Project44, an IT company specialising in transport visibility and management, announced that it had raised $420 million. What does such financial operations inspire us? Long ignored by the world of finance, the supply chain has experienced during the Covid period a media coverage that has not left investors indifferent. Many of them have understood that when everything collapses, the Supply Chain world remains one of the few pillars on which society can still rely to survive. No doubt some will have seen it as a kind of El Dorado with a flamboyant and highly profitable future. This is partly true. And the sums invested will not fail to help certain companies to establish themselves permanently in the landscape. But let there be no mistake: a fund-raising event kicks off the race for profitability, which is all the harder to achieve the higher the initial investment and the higher the ambitions. For the lucky beneficiaries, a new challenge begins.

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