Cimcorp, integrator of turnkey robotic handling solutions, and Mercadona, one of Spain’s leading grocery retailers, have celebrated the successful go-live of a third large logistics center featuring Cimcorp automation. Following the start of operations in both Zaragoza and San Isidro in 2021, the strategic Parc Sagunt facility went live during the first week of May 2022 and has been ramped up to full capacity in a controlled manner.
The announcement is part of a long partnership of co-innovation alliance between Mercadona and Cimcorp. Cimcorp is delivering automated intralogistics systems for several of the grocery retailer’s distribution centers as part of Mercadona’s strategic efforts to drive sustainable transformation in the food supply chain through automation.
Serving over 600 of the retailer’s 1600 supermarkets, Cimcorp’s automated systems will ensure that fresh foods are available to some 2 million of the 5 million households that shop at Mercadona. Aligned with the commitment to deliver uncompromising value to Mercadona’s customers and employees, Cimcorp has designed reliable, lean and green automation solutions to optimize order flow in the company’s logistics centers.
Optimal freshness through reduced lead time
“The grocery industry is extremely competitive, as shoppers change their consumption habits and preferred store very quickly,” says Kari Miikkulainen, Director of Warehouse & Distribution Industry Sales at Cimcorp. “Today, stores offering the freshest, most seasonal produce will win. Our job is to help industry players provide their shoppers with more high-quality, fresh produce in less time, enabling longer shelf life and therefore less food waste.”
Cimcorp’s solution enables automatic storage, handling and order picking in different temperature zones, with data tracking and tracing and everything managed by sophisticated and integrated software to streamline processes. The overall solution reduces order-processing time significantly, meaning shoppers can get their produce fresh from the local fields to stores within 24 hours.
“There are no rest days for reliable solutions,” continues Kari Miikkulainen. “Our modular software is architected with unpredictability in mind. There is no place for off days in today’s hyper-evolving consumer demand. Our solution is designed to divide the work into sections controlled by one integrated management solution, resulting in all units working to meet our partner’s desired growth targets.”
Repetitive tasks are left to the robots in Cimcorp’s new food solution, which reduces costs, enhances employee productivity and minimizes possible errors in delivery. “One of the advantages is reducing errors to guarantee a 10 out of 10 service for our stores and customers,” says Javier Blasco, Logistics Solutions Purchasing Manager at Mercadona.
Through Cimcorp’s highly automated solution – providing reliable and seamless storage, picking and retrieval processes – quality is front and center of all aspects of the material flow. “The order fulfillment process is automated,” says Miikkulainen, “and we trust our robots with the heavy lifting. Trusting automation maximizes the center’s output capacity, increasing the quality and productivity of the staff at work. This collaborative human-machine know-how ensures that everything inside the four walls of the distribution centers is optimized, and no orders are ever late.”
The future is in adapting to uncertainty and designing for growth and scalability, and that is what Cimcorp and Mercadona worked towards from day one with the modular automation design process. “Having modular solutions has advantages,” says Javier Blasco, “such as the fact that all the staff know the installation, regardless of the city in which they are located. In addition, solutions can be scaled and processes standardized more efficiently. The best thing”, he continues, “has been the robustness of the application; we have had no operational surprises processing actual orders and have been able to provide guaranteed service to our stores.”