• Ulma Handling Systems

ULMA Handling Systems automates the logistics platform developed for, a pioneer experience in Europe.

Apr 08, 2015
The project developed by ULMA Handling Systems is situated in the top ten of the most innovative platforms in Europe, being the first capable of automatically preparing orders for bottles thanks to latest generation technology.

EROSKI advances in the transformation of its logistic platforms towards more efficient automated processes with its Strategic Plan 2016. The new logistic facilities developed by ULMA Handling Systems in collaboration with Mondragon Unibertsitatea (MPEG) and Tekniker, incorporate avant-garde technology from this sector in Europe representing the maximum exponent of this automated process for managing logistics platforms.

With this innovative facility, the consumer cooperative transforms its logistics model towards a more sustainable and efficient one because it re-invents the way for producing order for the products needed by its shops. A fact that situates this platform in the top ten of the most innovative platforms in Europe, being the first capable of automatically preparing orders for bottles thanks to latest generation technology. The facility simultaneously allows reducing by 70% the weight and 50% the volume in the handling of loads by the persons working in the facility, qualifying the work positions, as well as reducing the logistics costs which redounds in benefits for the consumers.

With the modernization of the facility that has passed from being a logistics platform managed by a facility with lean industrial processes, 70% of the managed weight has been automated, a transit of 2,000 tons pass every day through the platform. In volume, the new logistics facility automatically manages 50% of the 140,000 daily picking boxes administered by EROSKI in the facilities developed by ULMA, around 4,000 per hour.

400 persons work in these new facilities, in which the cooperative has invested more than 40 million Euros, providing service to 25 hypermarkets, and 325 supermarkets.

The president of EROSKI highlights the pioneer character of the facilities, a reference in the sector in Europe, and underlines;

“The importance of the logistic optimization achieved with this new platform represents a fundamental step towards the objective of improving internal efficiency of the cooperative processes. It allows providing the shops with the service they need and that redounds in more advantages for the clients with more ranges and better prices thanks to increased agility, flexibility and reduction of operational costs”.

Agustin Markaide
President of Eroski



Innovation in pure state

The automation system developed by ULMA allows receiving and storing goods practically without any handling from the unloading docks where the goods are received.
The order preparation -picking- is also done automatically and the sophisticated computer development managing all the processes prepares the orders for each shop following the order in which the products are located in each establishment, that way facilitating the reposition and optimizing the complete logistics process, from the reception of the goods on the platform to their positioning on the shelves. In other words, the system allows the fully automatic reception, storage and order preparation for the shops, managing up to 1,100 different products, individually recognised in order to prepare the orders from each EROSKI shop following an optimized order according to the characteristics of the product (weight, size, fragility...), the positioning order from each shop according to the layout of each establishment and the weight and maximum heights of the pallets authorized in each case.
Among the most avant-garde solutions applied in the project we can highlight the innovative automation that has been developed for the order preparation for the shops that makes the EROSKI logistics platform the first in Europe to include the handling of bottles in its automated processes. A self-designed innovative technological process, designed and developed by ULMA Handling Systems, the difficulty of which is marked by the truncated cone base for the majority of drinks and the poor behaviour this has in the multi product positioning of the pallets forming the orders from the shops.

First logistics platform in Europe that includes the handling of bottles in its automated processes

Likewise, an automated process has been implemented for the depalletizing and all the internal circuits the products follow in the logistics facility through a sorter (automatic classification system) and different intermediate warehouses -individual storage by boxes and sequence- up to the positioning of orders in the shops. Among the main benefits we can highlight the improvements in handling the products, improvements in productivity, reduction of errors, service standardization, operational costs reduction... In addition, the substantial improvement of employment conditions for workers of the logistics facility because it greatly reduces the physical efforts required by manual preparation that each preparer needed for a load of 8,000 kilos per day.