German food group plots sophisticated DC
18th October 2021
The new logistics centre of German food group EDEKA Handelsgesellschaft Nordbayern-Sachsen-Thüringen mbH located in Marktredwitz, is currently under construction and will start operations in mid-2024 – both technologically and economically. It will supply some 900 stores in parts of Franconia, the Upper Palatinate, Saxony, and Thuringia with almost 28,000 different items from the dry goods range, fruits, vegetables, gourmet foods, frozen products, and flowers.
The facility with a size of approx. 100,000 sq m is designed for a peak picking performance of 583,000 cases per day. Spread across all logistics areas, 66,000 pallet storage locations, 730,000 tote, and tray storage locations, as well as 139 stacker cranes are connected by an efficient material flow – intelligently controlled by advanced logistics and IT systems.
EDEKA’s eighth OPM warehouse
As in the EDEKA distribution centres in Oberhausen, Landsberg, Zarrentin, and Berbersdorf, as well as in the NETTO distribution centres in Erharting and Henstedt, WITRON Logistik + Informatik GmbH from Parkstein is responsible for the complete design, implementation, and commissioning as a logistics lifetime partner. This also includes the design and implementation of all IT, control, and mechanical components. Furthermore, a WITRON Onsite team takes care of service, maintenance, and a constantly high system availability of this distribution centre.
A future expansion of the Marktredwitz site is already part of the current logistics design. “The investment secures a large number of jobs not only in Marktredwitz, but far beyond the region,” says Rainer Kämpgen, Logistics Director of EDEKA Nordbayern-Sachsen-Thüringen. “At the same time, it stands for a good and reliable supply of people in the long-term, especially in our rural Bavarian region.”
“WITRON’s task was to develop a technical and economic end-to-end solution,” says Kämpgen. “End-to-end within the internal supply chain – from receiving to shipping. End-to-end within the external supply chain – from the supplier to the distribution centre, transportation, and to the stores. End-to-end in terms of temperature zones and product groups: Dry, fresh, gourmet food, fruits, vegetables, frozen products. End-to-end in terms of the cases and load carriers to be picked: Piece picking, case picking, totes, half pallets, full pallets, roll containers, and insulated containers. WITRON has convincingly succeeded in meeting these requirements.”
High level of automation
Similar to the Berbersdorf site, EDEKA in Marktredwitz relies again on a fully automated WITRON system for the distribution of sensitive fruit and vegetable products. Thus, it is possible to successfully relieve the logistics operators from unergonomic work in a temperature-controlled work environment. More than 1,000 different products are stored here in a temperature range between +7°C and +10°C.
The logistical centrepiece of the fruit and vegetable area is WITRON’s intelligent and modular Automated Tote System (ATS) with nine stacker cranes and 42,500 tote storage locations. Plastic totes of the size 600 x 400 and 400 x 300mm are used as well. With the ATS, totes (stacks) already filled with goods by the supplier are received fully automatically, destacked, buffered, picked, stacked on a dispatch unit according to customer or store requirements, and made available for shipping.
More than 3,500 different gourmet food items such as ready meals, salad menus, or convenience products are picked by the WITRON OPM technology in the temperature range +4°C/+6°C with six COM machines onto pallets or roll containers in a store-friendly manner and without the need for personnel. The semi-automated CPS system (Car Picking System) is also used in this assortment area. With CPS, the items are placed in the pick front by stacker cranes as required and then stacked onto the load carriers by the logistics staff in a route-optimized and store-friendly manner using pick-by-voice technology.
Module mix ensures high flexibility
The dry goods assortment is the product range with the highest throughput, handling 65% of all units. Here too, fully or semi-automated systems handle the processing of cases, single-item picking, and the store-friendly consolidation of display pallets with maximum efficiency.
The implementation includes an OPM system with 18 COM machines, an All-in-One Order Fulfilment System (AIO) with 20 ergonomic piece picking workstations, a Car Picking System (CPS) for the semi-automated picking of heavy or bulky items, as well as a Display Pallet Picking System (DPP), which consolidates customer orders consisting of different half and quarter pallets in a separate high bay warehouse in line with customer requirements.
All dry goods orders are consolidated by a fully automated shipping buffer, which, in addition to pallets and roll containers of the dry goods assortment, also provides deep-freeze containers to the loading personnel just-in-time for delivery via heavy-duty lanes, sorted according to route and unloading points.
The distribution centre in Marktredwitz stores and picks flowers and frozen items using a pick-by-voice system and controlled by a WITRON WMS. The picking of frozen goods takes place at -18 degrees Celsius or -22 degrees Celsius directly into the deep-freeze containers.
“True to the credo ‘technology from people for people’, EDEKA and WITRON always aim to focus on the five key issues – service level for the stores, cost-efficiency, people, sustainability, and flexibility,” says Kämpgen. “When it comes to service level, EDEKA merchants and all consumers benefit first and foremost in terms of premium customer service made possible by holistic and cost-efficient processes within the internal and external logistics supply chain.
“When it comes to people, it is the employees in the stores who benefit from the highly efficient goods handling based on store-friendly picked load carriers – and, of course, all staff members in the EDEKA logistics centres who benefit from ergonomic and leading-edge workstations.
“Sustainability is addressed in many ways – for example through significant CO2 savings due to densely packed load carriers, optimal truck utilization, and fewer trucks on the roads. Furthermore, through footprint savings in construction, and significant reduction of excess goods, breakage, and waste. In addition, flexibility and expandability also ensure future viability. With that permanently changing market requirements can be met quickly and flexibly.”