About the project

L’Erbolario develops and manufactures herbal and plant based cosmetics and beauty products. Founded in Italy in 1978, the brand has grown from a small artisan herbalist’s using family recipes to an international beauty company exporting to 42 countries and shipping 60,000 products every day.

To meet its rapid growth, support new product lines and increasing global distribution, the company needed a new logistics warehouse and larger office and production facilities. In keeping with its ethos to minimise its environmental impact, L’Erbolario wanted an end to end sustainable logistics operation and supply chain.

The challenge

L’Erbolario’s objectives were to create a sustainable logistics warehouse, improve supply chain design to ensure excellent customer service levels and reduce costs. 

Specific KPIs identified were to:

  • improve delivery times from the logistics warehouse to retailers
  • reduce the percentage of damaged stock before it leaves the warehouse
  • reduce the number ‘out of stock’ products at retailers.

Our solution

A feasibility study was carried out on multiple facility layouts and scenarios to meet the KPIs. A facility design scenario was chosen.

We applied a predictive simulation software, a building block for a digital twin, to the preferred facility design to validate the sizing of equipment, resources and to foresee the overall functionality of the system under possible disrupted conditions.

Once the facility was modelled using predictive simulation software, six sub-models were built to explore processes in greater detail. These included five main production streams which involved trolleys and other activities and a model of the order packaging area.

Specifically, the simulation model was used to identify:

  • the sizing of the production facility, the material handling capacity and shelving space required
  • staffing requirements
  • potential bottlenecks on the production line
  • any potential delays in production, ensuring optimum delivery times
  • reach truck optimisation.


We identified the optimal layout of the new facility, as well as product and staff resources which would be consistent with the workload and the operating methods required to achieve the operational objectives.

The increase in productivity and order flow was not linear with an increase in employee numbers. Therefore, the facility, and its processes were designed to enable flexibility to meet variable seasonal demands.

From analysis and identification of potential disruptions to production, it was identified that:

  • a small deviation from the target weight of batches would not cause significant production losses
  • a deviation of over 12.5% from the target weight would result in a total bottleneck
  • packaging the parcels during the filling phase would make the line lose 5% productivity, so a dedicated packing line would be required.

From analysis of materials handling equipment, including reach trucks, it was concluded that:

  • the number of trucks planned for the project was optimum
  • the maximum sustainable flow for production line orders required, on average, a 50% utilisation of the trolleys, with the ‘peak times’ covered by flexible trucks
  • there was a high utilisation of reach trucks compared with a low utilisation of order pickers. It had been assumed that all the activities would be handled by the reach trucks, however 30% of the activities could be carried out by the order pickers which provides greater flexibility.


“We achieved our goal of keeping one production line and precisely detecting where our attention is necessary during daily operations to avoid reduced service levels. Simulation software allowed us to validate the technical and organisational choices before implementing changes, as well as to observe the impact of every change on the new production line in a risk-free environment.”

Andrea Cattaneo, Logistics Director of L’Erbolario


Alignment with Sustainable Development Goals

It is in our DNA to deliver value in all we do and we have defined Service Levels to measure progress on our sustainability goals. These are based upon selected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. 

The SDG based Service Levels met for this project are:

Industries, Innovation and infrastructure
By investing in digital technology and infrastructure we are driving economic growth. With our innovative predictive simulation software, we helped our client to build a more sustainable infrastructure with efficient energy and resource use.


Sustainable Cities and Communities
With predictive simulation modelling, we helped our client achieve maximum efficiency across its production and supply chain processes. We helped reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint and increase its sustainability. We design industrial facilities that form sustainable communities and contribute to sustainable cities.

Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns
By creating a digital twin for the newly designed warehouse, we were able to perform scenario analysis for different designs. Through our process modelling approach, we helped avoid failures, detect bottlenecks, reduce use of unnecessary materials and improve set KPIs. We provide solutions with a sustainable consumption and production mindset.

Climate Action
Greenhouse gas emissions and global warming have irreversible consequences to our climate. With our digital twin approach, we offered our client the optimal design with improved production and distribution processes, and minimum product failures. We strengthen business resilience and limit climate-related hazards with services that are compliant with climate-related regulations.


About Lanner

Lanner, a company of Royal HaskoningDHV, is our credibility on predictive simulations.
Lanner’s simulation software (WITNESS) connects physical assets, processes and resources
into a single digital model that delivers actionable insights to make business operations and
supply chains more resilient and efficient. This is a distinctive capability which strengthens
our digital capabilities and our focus on Digital Twin.

Learn more about digital twin technology