Copacol: automation and digitisation
Copacol has increased productivity by 20%, dispatching 925 tonnes of meat every day
Copacol is a major Brazilian cooperative specialising in the production and marketing of high-quality food products.
Increased demand, both in Brazil and abroad, prompted Copacol to ramp up production and to redesign its logistics strategy in order to centralise all its operations.
Given the new needs of the Brazilian cooperative, it chose to partner with Mecalux to take on the challenge of transforming its logistics infrastructure.
Copacol’s production centres have grown in lockstep with our company’s product portfolio. Consequently, at a certain point, our storage capacity could no longer meet our needs.
We knew we needed to offer better customer service: we didn’t have the necessary capacity for our stock and that of our customers, which created a problem. When preparing loads, we had to look for products in different areas, which meant moving the goods multiple times. As a result, in some cases, we were unable to serve our customers because we didn’t have the right product at the right place and the right time. Basically, this overhaul came down to a labour shortage and a lack of process control; in other words, we wanted to be sure that what we used to do manually we would now be able to do automatically — and that it would be done as well as or better than before.
When we considered building an automated warehouse, before making our final decision, we visited other facilities that were already using this technology to make sure it was the best choice for us. When we went ahead with the implementation, we already knew that automating our facility would satisfy our needs. So, we designed all the operations in the automated warehouse so that the machines and robots would work seamlessly according to the instructions from the software.
After analysing Copacol’s logistics requirements and growth prospects, Mecalux decided to install a 36-metre-tall clad-rack warehouse. This facility is equipped with four stacker cranes and a capacity for over 15,000 pallets containing frozen products. Mecalux also commissioned a second automated warehouse with capacity for almost 2,000 pallets of refrigerated goods.
Every day, these two cold stores receive 1,230 pallets from different production centres and external suppliers.
To round out the automated solution and streamline order fulfilment, Mecalux installed 306 live pallet channels, which are supplied by four transfer cars.
Automation speeds up picking at low temperatures to meet Copacol’s objective of dispatching approximately 2,000 tonnes of meat a day.
In centres used to store food such as Copacol’s, it is essential to maintain strict control over both the operations and the goods. Easy WMS software from Mecalux ensures total traceability, which is a must in the food industry. Likewise, the software makes it possible to directly manage batches arriving from production.
In addition to controlling the goods receipt and storage processes, Easy WMS is charged with supervising the work of the operators in picking and in shipping over 1,850 tonnes of meat a day.
In simple terms, now, our lorries arrive at the docks, and the goods are unloaded and placed on slave pallets, which are moved to the receiving point. Next, the pallets go through a checkpoint, where their condition and details are verified.
Pallets in good condition continue along their path, and the stacker crane itself, controlled by the software, decides on the best location for that product. If, on the other hand, any adjustments need to be made, the pallet goes back to receiving, and we make the necessary modifications to get it back on track.
Once stored, the pallet will remain in its location and will only be moved when we have a sales order. When that happens, the Copacol system will connect with the Easy WMS software, which will show us where the product can be found.
Full pallets will be taken directly from their storage slot to the warehouse staging area. If the pallets need to be broken down, they’ll be sent to the picking area; once the process is completed, they’re moved to the dispatch zone, thanks to the integration of our system with Easy WMS. For example, we used to depend on forklift operators to remove products from their storage locations. They had to lower them down to the floor and, from there, move them to the staging area, where they’d wait to be loaded.
Now, with a single click, this is done automatically, making our warehouses processes faster and more efficient. So now, when an order is issued, we can be certain that the software will fulfil it without errors, since all the data are already entered in the system.
Easy WMS assures us that we’re operating more quickly, more safely and with more agility. With this software, we’ve increased our productivity and efficiency and enhanced our product traceability. We now have full visibility of all processes.
Nowadays, a company of our size has to provide full traceability of its products to guarantee good service for end customers.
Consumers are more and more demanding, and we need not only to satisfy their requirements, but also to ensure the effectiveness of our processes. If we didn’t operate with complete traceability and there were a problem, we wouldn’t be able to solve it as quickly and nimbly as we would with a system such as Easy WMS, which makes that possible.
Copacol now benefits from centralised, automated logistics processes that enable it to supply all its customers. Copacol has solidified its position as a leading company thanks to the intralogistics experts at Mecalux.
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