Company description:

  • About 3.2 bn € sales
  • One of the biggest German, international operating retail-companies
  • 5th biggest coffee producer in the world
  • Multi Channel retail system:
  • 45.000 outlets in supermarkets, drug-stores,… (worldwide)
  • 1.200 shops, most with Coffee Bar
  • Online shops for most EU countries

Tchibo GmbH sells coffee products as well as non-food articles. Beside coffee products Tchibo offers a  product range with about 60 non-food articles which changes every week. Due to their differing size, weight and packaging logistic has a high importance for Tchibo in order to allow a highly automated commissioning and consolidation. The company purchases every article only once in order to retail it afterwards as fast as possible. To fulfill varying sales amounts for each store, stores send their current sales numbers to the head office on a daily base. Based on that information the amount for the 2- to 4 day weekly supply is generated. All is supported by the use of MySAP retail.

Non-food articles:

  • Packaging dimensions are considered very early in the product development process to guarantee shelf-fit and standard-load fitting.
  • Arrive about 4 weeks before sales start from all around the world.
  • Get distributed to several central warehouses.

Logistic centers – structure and supply cycle:

Tchibo has one central warehouse (harbor Bremen; 130.000 pallet places) and about seven regional logistic centers each of them with a pallet-capacity of about 65.000 and they can commissioning more than 4.500 pallets within one day (three shift).

In the regional logistic centers they use the cross-Dock-System. There, pallets with a special product mix, depending on the recipient are generated. At the end of a week the stock should be totally empty.

Shop delivery is done in two levels:

First (push-level) the basic service amount is distributed; the amount sold in each shop is taken as a base for the following pull-level. Within 36 hours, the shops can then be supplied with the new ordered products.

De palleting machine

Full automatic coffee comissioning


Commissioning is done by manpower, the person in charge collects the products. There are signal lights which show where and how many pieces of goods should be taken. By pushing a button the collection of a product is confirmed. The ‘pick mobile’ which is used to collect all goods is equipped with a wage and controls the commissioner’s work. On a display it is also shown which product has been collected already and which still needs to be collected.

In order to guarantee that Tchibo’s system works, all not sold articles need to be carried back from the shops to the logistic centers (with the supply vehicles). Within this re- transportation process, also all empty boxes are taken back to their origin.

If there is a defined amount of articles left from one product, they are put into a warehouse and considered for a new ‘Themeweek’. If not, they are shipped to Tchibo special sales shops where customers can buy the leftovers.

Interesting video material can be found on the following links.

Tchibo Logistic: 

Tchibo green logistics (German language):


Book: Logistik der Zukunft- Logistics for the Future; Ingrid Göpfert


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