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 Fnac.com 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