Upgrading software at the heart of our business

With an IT infrastructure as layered, complex and intricate as ours, even smaller updates can become a major challenge. Because, when everything is connected, every small update has impact on smaller or bigger parts of our systems. When that happens in our supply chain, it directly affects the very core of our business. That’s why Ad Pelt, Team Lead Supply Chain @ Jumbo Tech Campus and his team do not like to take chances when it comes to upgrading. Especially when moving to new versions. They opted for a process in several stages to carefully prepare for the upgrade of Jumbo’s Warehouse Management System: Locus.

Preparation is key

Ad explains why the upgrade was necessary: “Most WMS have an integrated planning system. But with our very specific planning demands, we opted for a separate system”. Locus will be upgraded from version 3.10 to 4.00 later this year and Ad and his team wanted to be absolutely sure the connection would hold up with version 4.0.

DTAP Testing

A new version of their proprietary, intermediate software was created and tested. Ad: “We use the DTAP-system as a roadmap to deploy software or upgrades. First, we Develop, then we Test. When no major issues arise, we deploy to an Acceptance environment, which is basically a copy of our real production environment, created to look, feel and function as close to the real thing as possible. Once we iron out any rough spots in there, we deploy to our Production environment.” The production environment is the IT infrastructure around the heart of Jumbo’s distribution system: warehousing. 

Frozen foods first

Ad continues: “We do not deploy to all distribution centers at once. There are several types of centers, and each type has its own software characteristics and dependencies. So, for this upgrade, we deployed to our CDV in Raalte, our distribution center for frozen foods. It is our smallest distribution center. So, should things have gone wrong, the impact would have been relatively small. Fortunatly, things did not go wrong. The upgrade was deployed without major issues”. 

The update was successful! Which meant they could start applying it to other distribution centers. And that’s what the teams doing right now. At the time of writing this article, Ad and his team successfully deployed the new Locus build at NDC-Fresh, the automated distribution center in Nieuwegein. 

Progress in planning and logistics

Ad feels confident that the further deployment should go just fine. “Sure, every center has its own characteristics and level of complexity, but as we saw in Raalte and Nieuwegein; the system’s base is very solid, so in terms of possible issues, I think there’s nothing we as a team can’t handle.” 

New distribution centers and new systems make the supply chain smarter are both developments that excite Ad: “We are really making headway in smart ways to handle our distribution. We used to have several independent centers spread around the Netherlands. They would each supply surrounding supermarkets with what they had in stock. So, 1 supermarket had several trucks supplying them. We couldn’t do it any other way back then, but nowadays our logistics are much more centralized and better organized. We use several different warehouses for perishables, frozen foods, and so-called dry groceries. Now, one truck delivers everything a supermarket ordered in one go. We also plan our routes very efficiently to make sure our trucks are always as fully loaded as possible. They deliver stocks to the supermarkets and bring back packaging, containers, and other items.”

A glimpse of the future

All these improvements have more than one advantage. They help making Jumbo’s logistics more efficient and environmentally conscious.  But Ad sees many more advancements and exciting new uses of technology in Jumbo’s logistics’ future. Such as electric and autonomous cargo transport.

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