15 students and logistics professor Helena are meeting at 9 o´ clock on a wonderful day at the entrance of UPF. The minibus is already waiting to take them to see something that most of us have never seen: A warehouse with all its automated systems and complex processes. And not just a warehouse, but the warehouse from MANGO. An international brand with more than 2.700 shops worldwide and a history that began in Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona´s most famous shopping street, in 1984. And we had the chance to see the warehouse that delivers all these 2.700 shops in more than 105 countries worldwide. And I can tell you it is easier said than done!
Let me share with all of you what we have seen:
After getting our safety jackets we started our tour, guided by one of the warehouse managers, at the truck docks where all the products, coming from China, Cambodia, Morocco and Turkey, are received. All the boxes, that contain only one model and one size, are scanned and carried on belts either to the silo or to the multi-operational area, where basically everything that goes needs a manual treatment because it is “out of norm”. Also remote quality checks are done in this area. Our tour goes on over the multi-operational area to the silo, where all boxes are stored. Everything that comes in from suppliers is stored on one side and everything that is prepared to go out to shops is stored on the other side. There is no people other than us in this huge room. Everything is controlled by machines, you hear a constant noise of robots moving. These robots store the incoming boxes wherever they find space.
After bombing the warehouse manager with questions that had arisen, we go on to the area where the orders are prepared, for me the most impressive part. People were working on 5 different production lines, where boxes from the silo came on in the order that orders had to be processed. That is to say, the boxes, from which some clothes were required to go to the shops, were automatically sent here, so that the workers had just to take out of the box the demanded number of that model and that size and place it on the belt. Those boxes that are not emptied during this transaction are sealed again and also put on the belt so that they would go back to the silo. The belt goes along different “baskets”, where the right cloth in the right size, color and model is thrown in automatically, as the belt is programmed in a way that it “knows” which exact product to join with which exact order (orders that come from the shops). Then when the order is finished, that is to say, all demanded items are in the basket, automatically a label is sent to the basket with the shop´s address and the size of the box. These boxes would fly along, again with the help of belts, so that the workers could just take off the box they needed (labeled from A to D, A being the biggest and most used and D the smallest box) and place the items in the box. Then the box would go on a belt to a station where it is sealed and then carried to the silo again where it awaits its turn to go to the shop.
Within Spain, all shops, when closing, automatically send a report of what they have sold during the day and the warehouse in Parets del Vallés has to prepare exactly that amount during the night so that they have it on the shelves again the next day. Within Europe, the delivery is not that immediate, but still very fast.
Now, stuffed with a whole bunch of impressions and facts about logistics at Mango, we are invited to the cafeteria. Here, we could digest not only some coffee and pastry but also all the information that we had been given during the tour and ask any questions that we had left.
And pssssst, just between you and me, Mango is an expanding business looking for young, international and multilingual people like us that excel in logistics 😉
A great thank you to Helena for making this visit possible.