The German-Spanish success story continues
Vitoria-Gasteiz / Parkstein. WITRON Logistik+ Informatik GmbH, the general contractor from Parkstein (Germany) has already realized twelve highly automated logistics centers at five locations for the Spanish food retailer Mercadona. At the end of April 2018, both companies signed a new contract for another major project - the design and realization of a new dry goods logistics center in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) that will supply Mercadona stores in northern Spain. Productive use of the logistics center with a size of 32,000 square meters / 345,000 square feet is planned for the end of 2019.
“The successful partnership between the two family-owned companies has been maintained since 2004 and is based on many common factors: eagerness for innovation, commitment, maximum customer service, and short decision-making processes”, says WITRON Key Account Manager, Alberto García Pardo, responsible for the distribution of WITRON’s logistics systems in Spain.
Reason for customer loyalty: Promises are being kept
“The main reason for this long running success is that we keep our promises: the on-time realization of cost-efficient logistics systems that generate sustainable competitive advantages for the customer”, explains Alberto García Pardo. The latest example is a fully automated frozen goods logistics center - also at the Vitoria-Gasteiz location, where goods for 128 stores are stored and picked at -23 degrees Celsius / 36 Fahrenheit within the WITRON OPM (Order Picking Machinery) solution. The final acceptance took place only 1.5 years after the contract was signed - with a ramp-up phase of only eight weeks. “Our customers trust us”, the WITRON engineer is certain. “At present, the number of repeat orders in food retailing at WITRON is four logistics centers per customer on average.”
OPM and PSSM - the core elements
The OPM system is one of the core elements of the new dry goods distribution center in Vitoria-Gasteiz. The system will supply more than 4,600 items to the same 128 stores which are already supplied with frozen goods from this location. On a peak day, 16 Case Order Machines (COM) stack up to 137,000 cases onto pallets in a store-friendly manner. A 32-aisle tray warehouse with 173,000 storage locations is located in front of the COM. In addition, the PSSM system (Pallet Storage and Stacking Machine) picks 3,200 full and half pallets daily in a high bay warehouse with 13,900 storage locations and 12 stacker cranes.
High consumer demands - the basis for high project requirements
Mercadona stands for quality and maximum customer service. The consumers in the company are not called “customers”, but “boss”. Due to this, Mercadona places extremely high demands on WITRON as a technology supplier. Mercadona expects the maximum possible with regards to the design and project implementation, as well as in terms of system performance and availability”, emphasizes Alberto García Pardo. Therefore, the responsible project managers of Mercadona for the locations Barcelona, León, Madrid, Valencia, and Vitoria-Gasteiz are permanently communicating with WITRON’s development departments in order to pro-actively adapt the processes and functionalities. “It requires high agility and flexibility to protect the investment, taking into account the current and future requirements of a rapidly changing market.” WITRON’s logistics experts benefit from an extensive market know-how, especially in food retailing, thanks to the numerous projects that have already been implemented worldwide. “A constant growth in stores, increasingly broad product ranges, and new consumer requirements are factors that can only be implemented cost-efficiently with flexible logistics solutions”, adds García Pardo. “In addition to reliable mechanics elements, it also requires intelligently, linked IT systems in order to guarantee a high optimization potential within the supply chain - both inside and outside the logistics center - with integrated data transparency and predictive analytics methods.”
Mercadona: currently WITRON’s largest customer
When the logistics center in Vitoria-Gasteiz supplies its stores in northern Spain at the end of 2019, a total of 178 COM machines will pick around 1.6 million cases a day in the thirteen jointly implemented projects. This makes Mercadona the largest WITRON customer worldwide. “Both companies are very proud of what has been achieved together so far and and we continue to work intensively to become even better in the future”, explains Alberto García Pardo. “Only one day after contract signature, both companies already initiated the next project. The German-Spanish success story, which is probably unprecedented in the logistics sector, will continue in the future”, Alberto García Pardo is optimistic.
Mercadona is the leading food retailer in Spain and ranks among the largest retailers in the country. The company currently employs more than 84,000 staff members and operates more than 1,620 stores. The revenue achieved in 2017 amounted to 22.915 billion Euros.