As part of its file POUR VOS APPELS D’OFFRES devoted to warehouse automation, published in its April issue, Supply Chain Magazine interviewed Léandre Boulez, Partner of DIAGMA, on the process of supporting warehouse automation projects offered by the consulting firm specializing in Supply Chain Management.

SCMAG : At what level and in what context do you work on warehouse automation projects?

Léandre Boulez : We generally intervene upstream of projects, as part of a logistics master plan. We help contractors determine the most likely future of their business. Warehouse automation is one tool among many to meet future challenges. However, automation should not be a goal or an end in itself.

SCMAG : What approach do you take?

L.B. : We start with a detailed analysis of flows and processes. We thus assess the opportunity to improve the existing without resorting to large investments. These first improvements are often quick to implement. We then measure the profitability of automation in relation to this existing improved.

SCMAG : What is the contribution of consulting firms like DIAGMA?

L.B. : Even if the systems progress over the years, the automation stiffens the processes a little. This is why a detailed study of the projections (modification of the BtoB / BtoC flow balance, increase in volumes, etc.) is essential in order to ensure the sustainability of the system. Consulting firms are well placed to carry out these analyzes because we qualify all the technologies, independently of the different suppliers present on the market. In addition, our interventions are led by consultants whose experience our clients can measure (number of sites defined and started, volumes of studies produced, variety of solutions implemented, etc.).

SCMAG : How far do you support your clients?

L.B. : Once the master plan has been framed, we define the solution more precisely during the preliminary design phase, in particular by integrating the project into its future real estate and IT environment. Then, the final design phase consists of launching and managing a call for tenders for technologies, in which we systematically involve several suppliers or integrators. Although our main role is upstream of the project, we also work on the more operational part as PMO (Project Management Office). We monitor and control the progress of the implementation until the operational start.

SCMAG : What recommendation would you make to Supply Chain Director who would like to embark on an automation project?

L.B. : We also provide coaching to ensure that the client team capitalizes and builds its own skills. It is desirable for an ordering party to choose a team capable of supporting him / her across the entire value chain to ensure consistency throughout the duration of the project.