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PICoLo - what is it?

PICoLo founds complete new logistics for the food supply chain in alliance with a modern and sustainable food retail trade with both a high profitability and a high additional value to the customer. It's worldwide the first timed that innovative technical Installations of this kind solve the cost problems of home delivery of food. Ideally connecting economical and ecological aspects the procedure also provides new kinds of offers to the customers.

PICoLo is a brand which stands for „Permanent Inhouse Consumer Logistics“.

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Why PICoLo?

Our food has become strange to us. We know very little about what we eat, in spite of legal information duties. More and more foodstuff has anonymous senders or they come along with fantasy brands. More and more their origin their growing up and the processing are concealed. Information is also rare when shopping under time pressure. A personnel and trustful contact is missing, as we know it from weekly market or in a well conducted food shop. Partly this problem can be solved by the formation of a “retail brand” (retail as a brand) as likewise Aldi did in Germany . This means high competence in purchase and quality control at the manufacturer's site. That's how we can get high quality food without a specific knowledge about brands. The price for it is to let our trust.
With shipping food (as far as possible) in bulk near the consumer and thereafter portion them out according to his order we can be more efficient in both, the management of costs and of environment. We avoid all the different sizes and designs of today's pre-packs and their transportation through a complex supply chain of an actually more and more centralising food retail trade.
This principle of the ancient corner shop reduces transport volume, packaging materials, expenses on stocktaking, the complexity of warehousing and considerably cuts down time to consumption.

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What does PICoLo achieve?
The put up and run of short, efficient straight through logistics for the full assortment
The offer of day-fresh food in whatever quantities (as required by singles and elderly people)
Partial or full service (raw, semi finished, finished and convenience food), menus, full catering
Increased profitability, incl. home delivery of food and non-food
Local supply with all kinds of services added on (post, ticket, dry cleaning, repair etc.)
New scopes of work for new labour (full-time and part-time) in the residential areas around this retail
Increasing quality of everybody's life as a result of resource-saving and more protection of the environment (consumption of land, of energy and of material; perishing, waste, traffic noise, pollution etc.)

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>> the complexity in food-trade

How does PICoLo work?

The procedure

The outstanding feature of the procedure is a 24 hour food turnover, which is an exception in today's centralised trade. Consumer either can go shopping in their local PICoLo-Market (near-to- home-supply) or order their purchases for home delivery.

The principle of PICoLo revives all the advantages of the old corner shops but it is now put into action by innovative means. In addition it is scaled up and accomplished by the handling methods caterers use.
Local grocers had an intimate knowledge of their customers. They purchased merchandise mainly in bulk from which they portioned out the quantity people wished. Fresh food as well as fruit and vegetables they preferably got from the local wholesale. The advantageous ability to meet the demand of small quantities (e.g. for single living people) frequently went against losses caused thereby and from the aspect of for hygienic reasons this was not always acceptable.
Nowadays handiwork of this kind cannot be done cost-covering. This is why the retail of loose goods at service counters more and more vanish (Germany) though many customers wish to buy this kind. Partly mechanized fulfilment of these activities, if cost-covering, needs a sufficient throughput.

PICoLo combines both the function of wholesale and of retail trade. Instead of ancient barrel or sack, of scoop or tongs PICoLo uses large-scale modern packs, big bags, pallets, stainless containers and tanks with controlled atmosphere and with temperature control during transport and the phase of portioning out, the same equipment as being used in industrial processing. As known these items together with dispensers and scales can easily be integrated in a fully automatic warehousing and factoring.
Therewith the shipping volume is reduced and hierarchical steps of transportation and stocktaking are eliminated. Furthermore the expensive weighing with tight tolerance as legal for industrial pre-packs can be dropped and also the proof and documentation of each day's average weights. Factoring will be achieved according to the effective weight which may slightly differ from what was ordered, like it did in the corner shop.
Standard wrappings like those for butter or bags for sugar or flour will be maintained as long as they are preferable for economical and ecological reasons.
Automatic purchase is in a simple way feasible because there is a current control of product levels and weights on stock. Transportation and replenishment is achieved overnight.
PICoLo aims at a complete turnover of food within 24 hours. Thus foodstuff can widely be handled without chemical preseratives.
Especially in the start-up phase multiple new jobs occur for people living within the adjacent residential area. Time consuming activities like the preparation of fresh salads and vegetable cleaning unloved by private cooks will be a special service offer of this retail.
Furthermore the traditional trade will be a furnisher for semi processed or convenience products or these goods can be catered by integrated kitchens. Customers have also the choice to order receipts.

Beside the described service comprehensive and extensive information and advice is delivered on demand. There will be the possibility of having a look inside the PICoLo-Center, of tasting food and of visiting growers and the processing industry in the surroundings. Shaping various of thus services helps this trade to develop a brand (retail brand) with permeability of national brands.

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Technical equipment

Methods for the management of stock in trade, of order processing and the handling of goods are more or less those of the food processing industry or of caterers. Installations for packing and commissioning are as well available in the market.
A new last mile technology was developed for an efficient delivery of goods. Manual operation thereby is reduced to a minimum.

Customers get their food packed and inserted in standardized boxes. The System avoids the variety of incompatible package formats which actually cause inefficiency and high costs when delivered. Boxes ready for the delivery are inserted in interchangeable racks according to the shipping course. Those racks are shifted on carrier platforms and thereon can be pushed into the chambers of the vehicle. Thus a complete loading operation takes only a few minutes.
Each of the four chambers of the modular designed vehicle shown above may be charged with goods each of them needing different controlled temperatures (e. g. frozen food, chilled food or even warm meals).

A big problem in home delivery of food is an absent consignee. Losses caused by this phenomenon lead to inefficiency of all presently operating home delivering systems. Compensation of such losses via prices lowers the customer acceptance which anew becomes cost effective by reducing stop density. For that reason PICoLo provides a depot container which helps people who are absent very often ore at different times and who wish to order from somewhere on their way.

Furthermore this trade needs a system for automatic order transmission. Retailers in Great Britain which are engaged in smart shopping use teachable Handhelds (palms). They serve as electronic shopping lists and by bidirectional operation allow automatic order processing.

The above mentioned procedures and technical equipment are described detailed in diverse patents, e. g. the EU-Patent EP 0686 437.

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Is PICoLo-shopping expensive?

Looking at the PICoLo trade described above for a moment one could get the impression that running it might not be profitable because of the amount of manpower required. With detailed calculations however it becomes apparent that reducing or no longer existent cost factors like...

– expenditures for industrial packaging, in particular for changing formats
– wrapping material for shipping and for consumer packs
– transportation and multiple storages
– shop/store costs
– losses and write-offs

...more than equalize the costs for personnel and home delivery. This is why the PICoLo trade in Germany is able to deliver goods at prices of supermarkets.

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Background in slides

In addition to the rather rough description given above the following graphics will highlight some project-related topics.


The consumer's vicinity to his food…

…got mostly lost nowadays. PICoLo gives a chance for CRM (Customer Relationship Management), for the taking into account the consumer's individual requests and preferences, close information about the offered merchandise, the producer, the processing and as well receipts for the preparation and on top the comfort of a purchase from his home.

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PICoLo starts into circulatory economy

This kind of trade is a firsttime holistic approach towards an economy with consistent close loop operations. The procurement is preferably achieved local but also however from abroad. Pallets and containers can be pooled to avoid empty freight. Consumption as well as the variety of material is reduced. This allows a simple and cost efficient reconditioning for reuse.

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The throughput – shorter and faster

Actual supply chain reduces to a one stop delivery like discounters have it. Temporary stocktaking by producers will only be necessary for the reason of capacity or the production in lots. Essential savings result from spared shop areas. Among others these savings finance the delivery to the customer's homes.

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Traditional and progressive trade logistics

The left diagram describes the traditional trade which can be achieved single-stage or dual-stage. Characteristic is an extensive logistics due to its ongoing centralisation. Even more road traffic is caused by e-commerce and its expected ‘atomizing' of product streams. Products are shipped individually in a direct course from the sender to the consignee.
The scheme on the right shows PICoLo's advantageous circulatory structure with it's strong bundling effects of both the procurement and home delivery.

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PICoLo vehicle

Actually Customers without being conscious of this fact fulfil the last part of the supply chain by commissioning his purchase in the shop and by bringing it home. To deliver goods at prices of super markets these transactions necessarily have to be trimmed towards the highest possible economy.
The portrayal shows a simple structured modularized vehicle can be assembled from only five different components by screwing them together. It's capacity can be adapted according to the deli-very course and the temperature zones required. With automatic insertion of interchangeable racks, filled with the boxes to deliver it is ready to start within a few minutes. No refrigeration machine is needed within delivery periods up to four hours..

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PICoLo depot container

This equipment secures home delivery from failure in cases of the absence of consignees. Worldwide this problem counteracts the efforts to deliver fresh food or caused severe losses. Failures extend stop times and cause the loss of food quality spoilage. Possible versions are those with in-and output on one side or on both sides which depends on how the container is integrated in walls or buildings. When equipped with a refrigeration machine it can replace the fridge or/and the freezer.

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The transformation of cost items…

…guarantees the economy of PICoLo in spite of it's extended ser-vices. The transferable financial resources sum up to 40 Bill. €. (in Germany). They result from savings in transportation, stocktaking, packaging and shop costs. Within the PICoLo system they finance in the commissioning and services like home delivery.
The portrayal characterizes as well that there will be made deci-sive progresses in reducing the damage of the environment.

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The budget of consumers rests stable

Price-conscious consumers will not accept a new trade except it brings him obviously advantages. Those can be the price, the quality (decisive is the freshness), the availability – not so much the breadth of the assortment. An important task toward the consumer will be to make clear the fact that shopping costs (especially when using a car) comes on top of what he pays in the store. Buying at PICoLo's these expenses drop.

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Complete service – good for customers and environment

The PICoLo trade is not limited to food. A competitive criterion will be to bring together kinds of supplementary services which PICoLo is able to perform with his thought-out technology. Possible are the delivery of newspapers or of pharmacies and repair services (e.g. electrical appliances) or even the delivery of an electric cooker or a washing machine for which the PICoLo vehicle is perfectly appropriate. This service will be restricted to the time of low capacity utilization.

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Contact us

SysLog Engineering GmbH
Schillingswinkel 2
30966 Hemmingen

phone: +49 (0)5101 - 12920
fax:        +49 (0)5101 - 916831

Trade register HRB. 56396; AG. Hannover

updated: 07.10.06