FIFA 19

Arvato has Gamers Cheering

At the end of September, it was that time of the year again - the hit game FIFA 19, eagerly awaited by all fans of the soccer simulation, went on sale. To ensure that the EA Sports highlight is in stores throughout Europe on time for the release date, Arvato Supply Chain Solutions starts planning its distribution down to the last detail six months in advance.

“In terms of volume, the launch of FIFA 19 is by far the biggest peak that we have to cope with,” says Philipp Rücker, who as Director Account Management in the Hightech & Entertainment division is primarily responsible for the Entertainment customers at the Gütersloh site. “That’s five million units we’ll be making available in stores on the day of release.” This isn’t even comparable with other peaks such as the Christmas business and Black Friday in this business segment. On the shipping days alone, 60 employees in the Operations department and ten employees in the Service Delivery department handle the launch in three-shift operation at the logistics center in Gütersloh.

The big challenge is that the product needs to be available on the same day at every retailer throughout Europe in the allocated quantity. It should arrive neither too early nor too late, but must be on shelves right when the shop doors open. Rücker says: “Basically, we begin this kind of a product launch six months earlier. Starting with initial planning discussions and Europe-wide coordination appointments, where we already determine when the goods will arrive and when the customers need to be supplied, we then work through every level of detail from month to month.” In this way, the rough planning becomes a detailed day-by-day schedule at the level of individual customers and countries. Value-added services such as display construction or the affixing of stickers to the products are also taken into account in the planning.

Arvato Supply Chain Solutions uses a broad mix of carriers for distribution. “We are responsible for the entire transport planning and control,” explains Philipp Rücker. “For each peak, we work with about ten carriers across Europe, who all need to be coordinated. We place a very strong focus on quality, safety transport and direct routes.”

And because even with the best planning, unexpected disruptions can occur, there are backup plans for every possible contingency – and a dedicated team of highly experienced employees. Not only can they quickly identify problems, they can also respond to them quickly and flexibly.

Philipp Rücker feels the well-rehearsed team and the company’s experience of nearly ten years of “FIFA Peak Management” are an important strength in the market: “We know every European retailer and their particularities and have comprehensive know-ho for this kind of campaign, both in transport management and in warehousing. Its size and worldwide network are further arguments in favor of Arvato Supply Chain Solutions. “Besides, our multi-user approach always ensures a certain basic capacity utilization at the site due to the large number of businesses, which allows us to flexibly redistribute resources for such campaigns,” says Rücker. “This is one of Arvato’s great advantages that sets us apart from many of our competitors.”

The result of the meticulous planning is impressive: For the first day of sale alone, the game was sent 5.247.254 times in various versions to the retailers!

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