The EDEKA Group of Companies Northern Bavaria-Saxony-Thuringia is one of seven regional groups of companies within the cooperatively organized EDEKA Group. It supplies around 900 grocery stores in northern Bavaria, northern Baden-Württemberg, Thuringia and Saxony, making it the largest local grocery supplier in the region. The Gochsheim location supplies some of the EDEKA stores in northern Bavaria with items from the dry goods line, frozen goods, delicatessen products, as well as fruit and vegetables. Expanded warehouse space is in demand given the rate of steady growth in the past plus the projected growth in years to come. The general contractor SSI SCHAEFER was awarded the contract to implement the warehouse expansion in 2020.
“SSI SCHAEFER’s excellent concept planning and potential for cost optimization helped us right from the sales phase,” says Dr. Stefan Winter, Project Manager Logistics at EDEKA Handelsgesellschaft Nordbayern-Sachsen-Thüringen mbH. “We were also impressed with the expertise in logistics solutions for food wholesale.”
Given the limited amount of space available for expansion, the objective was to implement an economical solution that required little space while creating the greatest possible additional capacity for fast movers. Therefore, an automated high-bay warehouse was ideal for the available space because the capacity expansion was achieved by constructing higher. SSI SCHAEFER built the 4-aisle high-bay warehouse in Gochsheim in 2020/21 with a floor area of approx. 100 m x 32 m and a height of 28 meters. It provides space for more than 10,000 pallet locations and is designed for single- and double-deep storage of the dry goods line. The concept already accounts for projected growth. The silo construction, i.e. the wall and ceiling cladding, is directly connected to the high-bay racks, saving construction costs for EDEKA. SSI SCHAEFER supplied all the components of the intralogistics solution from a single source and in-house, including the steel construction for the high-bay warehouse as well as storage-retrieval machines, pallet and roller container conveying systems, and the corresponding logistics software as well.
Goods from EDEKA’s suppliers arrive at the regional warehouse in Gochsheim. After goods-in, the pallets are transported via pallet conveying systems to the high-bay warehouse, where intermediate buffering of the goods takes place. The special aspect of the high-bay warehouse is the picking supported by the WAMAS® logistics software using Pick by Voice across two levels, which SSI SCHAEFER has integrated into the steel construction. This increases the number of picking stations and the transparency of the processes on the given floor space, allowing the space to be used efficiently. The pallets retrieved by the storage-retrieval machines are transported directly to the ergonomic workstations on the respective level via gravity roller conveyors, in what is known as tunnel picking. Here, the picking processes occur bundled on the levels, which in turn increases ergonomics and optimizes process efficiency. In addition, significantly fewer forklifts are needed in picking, which increases the transparency of picking processes. At the material-supply areas of the high-bay warehouse, the cases are then manually picked directly onto the corresponding roller containers and pallets, from where a special roller container conveying system transports them to the goods-out area. If a store requires single item pallets, they are removed from the high-bay warehouse and automatically transported directly to the goods-out area via the pallet conveying system.
The intralogistics solution from SSI SCHAEFER also features a high degree of customization. It adapts to the special requirements in EDEKA’s food retail and covers all customer-specific requirements. For example, the WAMAS logistics software, the modules of which have been specifically tailored to meet customer needs, is impressive because of its strong functional depth and has been setting standards in the EDEKA Group for a large number of retail stores throughout Germany since 2003. WAMAS stands for perfect interaction between the warehouse management and material flow system, all from one source. The core tasks of the WAMAS warehouse management software include the administrative functions, inventory and storage location management and the mapping of the logistics processes. The main focus is always on centralized organization across the locations. Within the hierarchy, the WAMAS material flow system is located below the warehouse management system, responsible primarily for allocated transports. Control and optimization functionalities and the corresponding interfaces to the subordinate control and external systems ensure a continuous, uninterrupted mapping of the flow of goods. In Gochsheim, a number of special features were implemented in line with the storage units, including the item-dependent speed of the storage-retrieval machines: The speed of the storage-retrieval machine is adjusted according to the pallet system, system utilization and load. This means absolute safety for the storage location. In addition, a plausibility check of the pallet height is performed via the quantity and number of layers. Another advantage of the load-dependent speed of the storage-retrieval machines is the reduced noise level for warehouse staff.
Moreover, the intralogistics solution scores with the maximum availability of the system, even at peak times. Projected business growth has already been factored into the planning so that it can be handled by the new system. In addition, EDEKA can rely on technically reliable components. The installed components all come from SSI SCHAEFER’s own production, which ensures the consistently high quality of the product. Should a malfunction ever occur, the service contract specifies fast response times in case of need to ensure the high performance of the system.
Four SSI Exyz storage-retrieval machines are used in the high-bay warehouse, which are characterized by their energy efficiency and thus contribute to sustainability. On the one hand, the extremely compact design of the SSI Exyz and the optimized control system ensure 5% more space after installation as compared to high-bay warehouses with conventional storage systems. This means that the SSI Exyz eliminates many cubic meters that would otherwise have had to be built, heated or air conditioned. On the other hand, a counterweight integrated in the mast completely saves the energy for the lifting gear from the outset. Conventional storage-retrieval machines can only recover this energy incompletely and with poor electrical efficiency. Standards at SSI SCHAEFER include drive dynamics and drive curves optimized for demand, energy-efficient drives and internal and external energy recovery.
After a realization period of just twelve months, the home stretch has been reached: Thanks to the expansion of the logistics center at the Gochsheim location, EDEKA can supply its stores in northern Bavaria extremely reliably.
“The high-bay warehouse has allowed us to make the best possible use of the available space, and the two picking levels have increased the number of picking locations in the area,” says Dr. Winter in summing it up. “In the course of automation, we now benefit above all from optimized process efficiency – from goods-in to pallet replenishment and the reduction in forklift transports.”