Mecalux has installed an AS/RS in the Logiscor center
3PL provider Logiscor installs an all-in-one logistics solution
Third-party logistics provider Logiscor drives an omnichannel strategy for one of its main customers — Supermercados Piedra — with an automated, high-performance solution.
3PL provider Logiscor, responsible for the logistics operations of Supermercado Piedra, has modernised its centre to adapt to omnichannel. Logiscor has installed an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) for boxes, racks with the semi-automated Pallet Shuttle system, and WMS software from Mecalux.
Logiscor: the 3PL provider for Supermercados Piedra
Logiscor is a third-party logistics provider for Supermercados Piedra, a supermarket chain based in Andalusia, southern Spain, that sells food, cleaning products and household items. The 3PL provider supplies Supermercados Piedra’s 60 points of sale and sends orders to customers of its three online shops. Supermercados Piedra is a subsidiary of Comercial Piedra Trujillo, which also owns the brands Cash Más Ahorro, Proxi and Óptima. In 2021, Comercial Piedra Trujillo’s sales exceeded €115 million.
Managing the logistics operations of companies with an omnichannel sales strategy is a challenge for 3PL providers like Logiscor. The warehouse has become the nerve centre for these types of businesses because it is there where orders from multiple sales channels are shipped. The complexity in managing omnichannel facilities has driven many companies to outsource their logistics processes, putting them in the hands of a 3PL provider to improve service and satisfy end customers.
“We work for a wide range of customers, so we needed our supply chain to be versatile, efficient and fast to meet our day-to-day needs, which change constantly,” says Manuel Cantueso, CFO of Logiscor.
One of this 3PL provider’s customers is Supermercados Piedra. This supermarket chain with over 60 shops throughout Spain’s Andalusia region has recently opened an online shop. Sales from its e-commerce platform have skyrocketed since the pandemic, leading the company to call upon Logiscor’s expertise to organise its logistics processes.
Located in Córdoba (southern Spain), the Logiscor warehouse stores 8,500 SKUs. To optimise operations and provide the service its customers expect, the 3PL provider turned to automation. “The decision to install an automated storage and retrieval system for boxes was a gradual process developed over several years. We wanted to benefit from all the features of this solution, for example, a reduction in the space needed to prepare orders. We also wanted to cut costs by doing without elements such as RF scanners and forklifts, which also call for special training for operators,” says Cantueso.
In the new AS/RS for boxes, Logiscor houses low- and medium-turnover products as well as items requiring special care or control, e.g., small appliances, cosmetics and office supplies, among others. “Before, we stored low-turnover goods on the picking shelves, which took up excessive space. Additionally, operators spent a lot of time replenishing these products — time which could have been put towards other more value-added operations,” says Cantueso.
To store pallets, Mecalux outfitted Logiscor with the Pallet Shuttle system, a solution that provides a high storage capacity in a small space. This high-density storage system features an electric shuttle that inserts and removes goods extremely rapidly.
Technology and digitisation
“The main advantage we’ve gained with the installation of the AS/RS for boxes is more reliable operations as well as savings in time and space,” says Cantueso.
With capacity for 11,970 boxes, the AS/RS consists of a single aisle that stands out for its length: 100 metres. This aisle is served by a stacker crane for boxes with telescopic forks that work in double-deep racks. The AS/RS is supervised by Mecalux’s Easy WMS warehouse management software, responsible for organising goods entries and exits from the storage system as well as order picking.
Two 5-metre-tall pick stations have been set up in front of the AS/RS. There, orders are prepared according to the goods-to-person method. Operators remain at their posts, waiting to receive the products and sorting them in the carton live storage system located behind them. The put-to-light displays, integrated in the carton live storage racks, guide the actions of the operators to improve their throughput as they sort goods and put together orders. Logiscor’s put-to-light system is connected to the Mecalux warehouse management software. By means of the put-to-light displays, Easy WMS tells the operators which box they should deposit the products in and the exact number of units required.
With this combination of an AS/RS, carton live storage, and management by Easy WMS, the company has streamlined the simultaneous preparation of multiple orders, minimised the possibility of errors and optimised operator travel.
The Easy WMS warehouse management system strictly controls all products, thanks to its permanent two-way connection with Logiscor’s ERP system. Easy WMS receives an advance shipping notice (ASN) from the ERP system for every product that arrives at the warehouse. Based on this message and using a set of rules and algorithms, Easy WMS assigns the goods a location according to their characteristics and turnover.
The 1,500 SKUs stored in the AS/RS for boxes are fully traceable. Logiscor knows the location of all its products in real time and can track any movement through Easy WMS.
High-throughput, all-in-one logistics solution
With this comprehensive logistics solution, Logiscor has adapted to the omnichannel strategy of one of its main customers.
“Logistics is the basis of all trade, so its efficiency affects companies’ profitability and service capacity. Logiscor continuously seeks logistics solutions that ensure maximum productivity, and automation is one of them,” says Cantueso.
Automation has provided extremely accurate control of the more than 1,500 SKUs managed in the miniload system. All product movements are coordinated by the Easy WMS warehouse management software from Mecalux, and inventory is always up-to-date.
Expediting order picking, ramping up productivity and leveraging space were key for providing the logistics efficiency that Logiscor’s customers require.
Features of the Pallet Shuttle system
“On the Pallet Shuttle system racks, we store around 1,000 pallets of the same SKU and expiry date,” says Cantueso.
This compact storage solution employs an electric shuttle that moves inside the storage channels. With this shuttle, Logiscor has considerably cut goods-in/goods-out times.
The motor-driven shuttles follow the instructions sent by the operators via a tablet with a Wi-Fi connection. Moreover, the Pallet Shuttle system has multiple sensors and mechanisms that ensure that the movements the shuttle and the goods make are precise, quick and safe.
We chose Mecalux because its storage systems meet our needs. Mecalux is our trusted logistics solutions provider; we’ve been working with the company for many years. We’ve seen its evolution in terms of automation, and we’re convinced that its solutions are the best option for our logistics infrastructure.