I recently got hired at a Drive Leclerc, and it was my first day on the job. I was eager to uncover what goes on in these large warehouses that customers never enter. My role as a handler is to fill customers’ shopping bags for a minimum wage salary.
Before starting, I met with the supervisor to understand the pace required. But what exactly does this « required pace » mean? It became clear that every minute counts, and I needed to keep up. From his computer, my manager would monitor my work in real-time.
To ensure that handlers like me don’t slow down the delivery process, I was given a tool that never leaves my side – an electronic scanner. This device tells me which items to bring to the customers and reports my actions back to my boss. With over 300 clients per day, errors are always possible, so the scanner is crucial for accuracy.
Each shelf in this labyrinthine warehouse is numbered, making it easier to navigate. However, the challenge lies in locating the right items among the countless orders. I scan the bags to ensure they match the items on the scanner, as any mistake can lead to additional costs.
As the first customers arrive to collect their groceries, an alarm signals their arrival. With one client every two minutes, the alarm keeps ringing throughout the day. It is essential to remain attentive and avoid any oversights.
Despite my best efforts, it seems that I am falling short. My scanner quickly betrays me, and my manager is closely monitoring my every move. There is no leniency for a newcomer like me. A colleague who has been working here for a long time warns me about the fast-paced nature of deliveries.
Time flies during deliveries, especially when issues arise. A simple oversight can slow down the process. However, the store has implemented measures to ensure a smooth operation at every step. I would soon discover another part of the warehouse that unveils Leclerc’s secret.
There it is – Leclerc’s enormous machine, several meters long, with rolling shelves. This automated system prepares the majority of the orders. According to our information, this machine is an investment of nearly one million euros. Leclerc has equipped over forty drives with these giant robots, reducing the need for human employees and cutting costs in half.
For products that the machine cannot handle, such as large formats or fragile items, the question of slowing down to fill the bags arises. On average, employees must fill 100 products per hour. Depending on the drive’s turnover, they receive an average monthly bonus of 40 euros.
Thanks to its mechanized warehouses, Leclerc has gained an advantage over its competitors. Its turnover in this new market reached nearly 2.5 billion euros last year. Today, the company already has more drives than hypermarkets.
Working at a Drive Leclerc has given me a unique insight into the inner workings of these large warehouses. Despite the challenges, the drive concept, with its efficient automation and focus on customer satisfaction, is undoubtedly changing the way people shop for groceries.