MDS is continuing to automate its Ile-de-France warehouse with its partner Savoye

MDS, a subsidiary of the Média-Participations Group specialising in Book distribution, is one of the first users of the X-PTS® goods-to-person solution from SAVOYE. Boosted by on-going growth, the distributor has constantly upgraded its automation solutions with its partner, SAVOYE, who provides full engineering-integration solutions for logistics and the supply chain.

As the third largest publishing group in France of comics, manga, fantasy literature, children's and practical books, coffee table books, tourist guides, etc. after Hachette and Editis, with more than €500 million turnover and successful external growth operations, Média-Participations stands out as a major player in its field. 

MDS is in charge of distributing works from both its parent company and external publishers (25% to 30% of its business) and its customers include book stores, large cultural stores such as Fnac and Cultura, major retailers (Auchan, Carrefour, Cora, Casino, etc.), all supermarkets that sell books, e-traders like and Amazon and tourist sites. A huge business representing a total of 55 000 items, about 5000 orders every day and 50 million copies sent every year, requiring major investment in logistics.

Automation in support of growth

To this end, MDS relies on three sites – one in Belgium, one in Switzerland and a third, the largest, in Dourdan in the Paris region. The Dourdan site has 180 permanent employees, assisted by major seasonal reinforcements at year end.

MDS has chosen mechanisation within this Ile-de-France warehouse of 35 000 m2 set on 6.5 hectares. Created in 2002, the site was quickly fitted with conveyor belts and the conventional station-based order preparation system, PAC 600 packing machines, WMS software, etc. produced by SAVOYE. “For split-case order preparation equipment, at the time and still today, there were very few suppliers familiar with the book distribution trade. SAVOYE was already well-established in the sector and could therefore offer a full range of conveyors, packing machines, dynamic storage equipment and WMS software programs”, explains Bruno Delrue, Managing Director of MDS. MDS grew significantly in the years that followed, expanding its business to the distribution of children's books via the publisher Fleurus and to Michelin tourist products: “I joined the company in 2005. At the time, MDS had eighty employees, now there are 180. The company has expanded continuously, mainly through external growth. The question is, why did I opt for advanced automation or robotisation? Coming from the world of pharmaceutical distribution which is highly automated, I wanted the book sector to take advantage of these tools, despite the differences between the product types – a book is far heavier and far more cumbersome. The goods-to-person systems met these constraints very well. MDS was therefore one of the first to invest in the “goods-to-person” technology in 2010, when SAVOYE launched its robotised order preparation system PTS Picking Tray System (since named X-PTS®). Six aisles, six elevators and 24 shuttles were thus installed in 2010. This was a new SAVOYE product: We believed in it and installed it and today we have just ordered our fourth system”, says Bruno Delrue.

Installation of the fourth X-PTS® goods-to-person solution

The collaboration soon bore fruit. A second X-PTS® automated installation arrived on site in 2014 (two operator stations, two aisles, four elevators and thirty shuttles), followed by a third in 2017 (two operator stations, two aisles, thirty-six shuttles and four elevators). Today, just as its parent company Média-Participations is acquiring the La Martinière-Le Seuil Group, MDS continues to expand its order preparation capacities and is installing a fourth goods-to-person solution on its Dourdan site. The system supplied by SAVOYE comprises two aisles, fifty shuttles and two operator stations for 24 000 locations. Start-up is planned for September 2020. “We have to deliver split-case orders to our customers at an ever-growing speed. The number of items is increasing and the orders are becoming smaller and smaller. Logistic costs increase for a same turnover. Automation allows us to meet these challenges. Not only does it save the operator a huge amount of time by freeing him from all his moving around, but it also optimises the storage area and ensures better quality in preparing our customers’ orders”, states Bruno Delrue.
SAVOYE, through the comments by Frédéric Zielinksi, Development Director, expresses recognition and pride in relation to MDS: “There were many different reasons that prompted me to join Savoye in 2017: the size of the company that allows it to be agile and reactive, innovation, in the pragmatic sense of the word, i.e. when the market is ready to welcome new solutions and products, sufficiently-advanced technologies and above all it brings our customers tangible results, in terms of performance, growth and savings.
But in reality, the most obvious reason for me is the relationship that Savoye and its customers have maintained for many years. 
Savoye has always taken into account that every contact between any company and its customers has a knock-on effect on the relationship. 
Being creative, innovative at the right time and above all always listening to MDS and Bruno Delrue especially has being sensitive to technologies, robotics and automation has ensured that this fine story – to which Savoye is honoured to be a part of it – has lasted for many years”.
Goods-to-person solutions, mechanisation of shipping packages with the JIVARO® and PAC 600® machines, WaCS®, WMS warehouse management software program, automatic sorter, etc. MDS has put its trust in SAVOYE for over fifteen years and continues to work with the integrator as its changes in growth have dictated, satisfied with the ability of its partner to “innovate, genuinely adapt to the needs of the customer with flexibility and a real ability to customise”, concludes Bruno Delrue.

Bruno Delrue, CEO of MDS