Barcelona, Setember 23th 2011.
The company ALIMERKA has managed to reduce costs and make efficiency gains thanks to its new logistics platform, which has been operating for the last few months in the municipality of Lugo de Llanera, in Asturias. The platform, covering 50,000m2 and built on a 120,000 m2 plot of land, has been fully automated by MECALUX, a world leader in the storage systems market.
Thanks to automation, the warehouse operated by the Asturian company has become quicker in moving its goods. In total, the logistics platform moves more than 6,500 pallets a day and handles over 170,000 packets every day.
The logistics platform has also allowed ALIMERKA to group together all the warehouses that it had in different areas until now. This regrouping of its different sections, the installation of automatic elements and the coordination of the entire centre thanks to MECALUX’s EasyWMS® software, has allowed the company to reduce costs and make efficiency gains. As a result, ALIMERKA has managed to perfectly synchronise the entire supply chain, optimising reception times, quality control, and order preparation and dispatch.
ALIMERKA manages 175 of its own supermarkets, a supply centre for fruit and vegetables (Codefrut, SA) and a centre that makes bread and pastries (Masas Congeladas, SA). The logistics platform comprises a large warehouse covering 29,000m2, as well as a plant for the production and distribution of frozen dough, covering 5,000m2.
The logistics centre is divided into four sections, according to the characteristics of the product stored: dry products (not handled), fish, fruit and vegetables, and meat. According to the head of the MECALUX robotics technical office, Federico Barea “the diversity of products that ALIMERKA stores and handles presented a real challenge when it came to automating the logistics platform, as more resources were required to manage all the items correctly and quickly".
The automation of the platform
The facilities are completely automated and run using the MECALUX EasyWMS® software, which uses radio-frequency technology to control the entire logistics centre, from stock status to operator production and real-time order control. The software reduces errors while also shortening the time required to perform the tasks generally required to manage the warehouse. As a result, the company can improve delivery times and make better use of its physical and human resources.
In addition to the software, MECALUX has installed 4 stacker cranes that move along the aisles and add, locate and remove the merchandise, whether in pallets, half pallets or crate-by-crate. Three of the stacker cranes take the goods to dynamic shelving units where the operators carry out the picking processes requested by the EasyWMS® software. The warehouse also has a stacker crane for half pallets and 42 conveyors, which allow for the movement and distribution of the merchandise throughout the warehouse in response to requirements.
The company began operating in Asturias in 1986. Since opening its first supermarket in Oviedo in 1987, ALIMERKA has experienced significant growth and opened stores throughout the Principality of Asturias and the autonomous communities of Castile-Leon and Galicia.
The company sells more than 500 of its own products in its supermarkets. Fruit and vegetables are supplied by a company belonging to the same group, Codefrut, while the bread and pastries in the supermarkets are made by another subsidiary, Masa Congeladas.
The chairman of ALIMERKA, Alejandro Fernández, explained that "to continue with our expansion inside and outside Asturias we needed a more efficient logistics centre and one which offered capacity for growth. In this regard, the warehouse could in the future reach double its current size”.