16 Jun 2024

Automated intralogistics system

Cimcorp’s robots have reduced fresh produce lead times for Mercadona
Mercadona, a leading grocery retailer in Spain and Portugal, has announced it has partnered with Cimcorp, an expert in robotic handling solutions, to implement an automated intralogistics system at its distribution centre in San Isidro, Spain. Cimcorp says its robots have helped Mercadona to achieve record lead times in its supply chain, thereby increasing shelf life for its products and ensuring freshness for its customers.

The company says as well as enabling the delivery of fresh produce from field to store within 24 hours, the warehouse automation secures Mercadona the benefits of less waste and a safer workplace. With robots taking care of the heavy lifting and repetitive tasks, Mercadona’s staff can enjoy work roles that are less tiring and more productive, factors that typically aid staff retention. Automation also ensures order accuracy, reduced costs and maximum throughput.

Fruit and vegetables only stay fresh for a limited time, so if there are any delays in delivering them, they can spoil or lose their nutritional value. Mercadona says it aims to guarantee the freshness of perishable produce for its customers. One of the best ways of doing this is by reducing the lead time in its warehouses, thereby extending the shelf life of its fresh products.

“The grocery industry is extremely competitive, as shoppers change consuming habits fast and change stores even faster,” says Kari Miikkulainen, Director of Warehouse & Distribution Industry Sales at Cimcorp. “Today, stores offering the freshest, most seasonal produce win. Our job is to help industry players provide their shoppers with more high-quality, fresh produce in less time.”

Seeking to optimise its order flows, minimise food waste and enhance the customer experience, Mercadona has worked in partnership with Cimcorp to automate its intralogistics processes at San Isidro, as well as at its distribution centres in Zaragoza and Parc Sagunt. The San Isidro DC supplies 171 of Mercadona’s supermarkets, shipping a daily volume of 118,800 totes to the stores.

By leveraging automatic storage, handling and order-picking capabilities in different temperature zones, Cimcorp’s system has streamlined processes and reduced order-processing time (from order receipt to shipment) significantly. The solution utilises sophisticated and integrated software for data tracking, tracing and management, ensuring efficient operations throughout the supply chain.

“The most significant advantage is reducing errors to guarantee a better service for our stores and customers,” says Javier Blasco, Logistics Solutions Purchasing Manager for Mercadona.

Cimcorp says it designed modular control architecture that provides the agility and flexibility needed to handle unpredictability in consumer demand. With work in the DC divided into sections but controlled by one integrated management solution, all units can work in synchronisation and meet Mercadona’s desired growth targets. This modular approach has enabled scalability and standardized processes across multiple locations for Mercadona, enhancing operational efficiency and facilitating knowledge transfer among staff.

“Having modular solutions has advantages,” explains Blasco, “such as all personnel knowing the installation, regardless of which city it is in. Additionally, the solutions can be scaled up and the processes standardised more efficiently. The best part has been the robustness of the application; we haven’t had operational surprises with real orders, and we’ve been able to provide a guaranteed service to our stores.”

Cimcorp says its modular automation design process – combined with reliable and seamless storage, picking and retrieval processes – has delivered operational reliability and excellent service to Mercadona’s stores. The successful collaboration between Cimcorp and Mercadona demonstrates the potential of automation to revolutionise the food supply chain and ensure sustainable growth in the grocery retail industry.


Company info: Cimcorp