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Mercadona calls in Cimcorp Automation to help move fresh produce from field to store within 24 hours

Mercadona, a large grocery retailer in Spain and Portugal, has brought in Cimcorp Automation to further automate fresh food intralogistics at its distribution center in San Isidro, Spain.

Equipped with Cimcorp’s robotic solution, Mercadona says it now delivers fresh produce from field to store within 24 hours, thereby increasing shelf life for products, minimizing food waste, and ensuring freshness for customers.

Automation has also helped Mercadona improve workplace safety and satisfaction for its employees. This is the fifth automated system Cimcorp has implemented for Mercadona, following successful installations at several other new logistics facilities in Spain.

Fruit and vegetables only stay fresh for a limited time. If there are any delivery delays, produce can spoil or lose nutritional value. Seeking to guarantee freshness, minimize food waste, and enhance the customer experience, Mercadona selected Cimcorp to automate its intralogistics processes and optimize order flows at San Isidro.

Kari Miikkulainen, director of warehouse and distribution industry sales at Cimcorp, says: “The grocery industry is extremely competitive, as shoppers change consuming habits fast and change stores even faster.

“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.”

The San Isidro distribution center 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 solution has streamlined processes and significantly reduced the time from order receipt to shipment.

Mercadona now benefits from order accuracy, reduced costs and maximum throughput. Moreover, Cimcorp’s solution utilizes sophisticated and integrated software for data tracking, tracing, and management, ensuring efficient operations throughout the supply chain.

Javier Blasco, logistics solutions purchasing manager for Mercadona, says: “The most significant advantage is reducing errors to guarantee a better service for our stores and customers.”

Beyond accelerating fresh produce distribution, Cimcorp’s automation also supports a safer workplace environment. With robots taking care of the heavy lifting and repetitive tasks, Mercadona’s staff enjoy work roles that are less tiring and more productive. These factors typically aid staff retention.

Notably, Cimcorp’s modular control architecture provides the agility and flexibility needed to handle unpredictability in consumer demand.

With work in the distribution center divided into sections but controlled by one integrated management solution, all units can work in synchronization 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.

Blasco says: “Having modular solutions has advantages, such as all personnel knowing the installation, regardless of which city it is in. Additionally, the solutions can be scaled up and the processes standardized 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.”

Miikkulainen says: “Our 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 revolutionize the food supply chain and ensure sustainable growth in the grocery retail industry.”

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