Edeka automates its fresh produce logistics

21st April 2021

Logistics BusinessEdeka automates its fresh produce logistics

Part of Germany’s largest supermarket chain, the regional company Edeka Minden-Hannover is automating its fresh produce logistics in the fruit and vegetable sector with an intralogistics solution from Cimcorp, which has specialised in this automation for over 40 years.

Together with other Edeka regions and the Netto Marken-Discount chain, the regional company Edeka Minden-Hannover is one of the first German grocery retailers to use this solution.

Cimcorp has already provided similar automation for the fruit and vegetable sector in other European countries. Jarno Honkanen, Director of Solution Development at Cimcorp, says: “We’ve provided reliable solutions for rapid order fulfilment for many years, thereby optimising the shelf life of perishable products. The advantage for customers is that they receive their fresh products faster and that they stay fresh longer in the household. We look forward to working with Edeka on this further project.”

“The Edeka slogan is ‘We love food’,” explains Arnd Wilde, Logistics manager at Edeka Minden-Hannover, “which is why our regional company offers a comprehensive range of products in its Edeka stores, secured by professional quality management: from inexpensive basic items to branded items and selected specialties. Supported by our cooperative guiding principle, we rely on our independent Edeka merchants and store managers to have a high level of commitment in the joint business venture.

“Our daily challenge is to bring fresh fruit and vegetables from the producer to our markets promptly. This is often a race against time, because it usually takes only a few hours between delivery to our warehouse and delivery to our stores. In Cimcorp, we have found a partner who can provide us with a solution for fully automated order picking of ergonomically packed fruit and vegetable pallets that meet the requirements of our markets – quickly, reliably and cost-effectively. This automation does not mean that jobs are lost; we need our full team to continue to provide the desired logistics service for our salespeople in the future.”

Quality and freshness are critical for customers when buying groceries in-store. This means that speed and accuracy in picking are crucial for product quality. Edeka Minden-Hannover is constantly working to optimise its logistics processes and is thus continuing its sustainability strategy with a view to reducing CO2 emissions, among other things. In order to meet these challenges, Edeka Minden-Hannover, as the largest grocery retailer in its sales area, continuously invests in the modernisation of its logistics.

Around 1,200 fruit and vegetable items for the 1,488 supermarkets in the region are freshly picked and delivered daily to the four logistics centres located in Lauenau, Freienbrink, Wiefelstede and Landsberg. The aim is to modernise two of the existing logistics centres – Lauenau and Freienbrink – with minimal disruption to daily operations and without risking food safety. These two logistics centres will supply fresh fruit and vegetables to more than 1,000 stores every day.

In Lauenau, the automation will be installed in the existing logistics centre, which has been fully operational since 2014. The volume is higher in Freienbrink, so a total of three fresh food modules will be installed there. The modular structure speeds up the installation: once the first fresh food solution is in operation, the next two will be installed.

Jarno Honkanen, Director of Solution Development at Cimcorp, says: “When fully operational, the modularity guarantees the maximum functionality of the system through redundancy. The individual module can be emptied – for example, during cleaning – without interrupting the entire flow of materials in the logistics centre. Overhead gantry robots handle food crates that are stacked on the floor – there is no need for an expensive shelving system.

“This is also essential for food safety. During cleaning, crates can be moved to another module or stacked under the gantry robot to clear the floor. An empty floor is easy to clean, which ensures a high standard of hygiene.”