Olvi operates in the brewing industry, which is subject to constant change, including diversification in products and packaging. As a result, the Finnish brewery has seen its number of SKUs multiply in recent decades. This, combined with drastic seasonal changes, puts more pressure on Olvi’s production, warehousing and distribution operations.

Timo Miettinen, Logistics Manager, Olvi Plc
Timo Miettinen, Logistics Manager, Olvi Plc

The challenge

The brewing industry has been transformed since the new millennium. The most profound change in Olvi Brewery concerns beverage packaging, where the previously dominant refillable glass bottles have been replaced by recyclable cans and plastic bottles.

At the same time, product ranges have expanded explosively and production volumes have increased significantly – and this is expected to continue.

Customers want more variety, smaller batches and more frequent deliveries. Seasonal demand for beverage consumption can swing 25% between low and high months, which can cause bottlenecks in production and the distribution center on peak production days.

The solution

Cimcorp’s automated order-picking system adapts to variations in the amount and frequency of deliveries and provides flexibility. Increasing warehouse capacity and boosting picking efficiency gives Olvi the ability to be as agile and fast as its customers expect.

The whole of dispatch – including warehousing, material ow and order picking – is managed by Cimcorp’s software, which controls the handling of the full beverage trays, crates and pallets from the production lines to the loading bays.

The automated high-bay warehouse can accommodate 13,800 pallets, which doubled the storage on site when installed. It meets the demands of overall growth in production capacity, as well as leveling out the seasonal swings of the brewing industry.

Cimcorp automated Olvi’s distribution center for the first time in 2005, and the new automated order-picking system for full trays and high-bay warehouse were built a decade later to increase the distribution center’s storage capacity and order picking efficiency.

Annual capacity has increased from 100 million liters to 178M, with a realistic target to hit 200M liters a year in 2020.

All investments in automation have been made bearing in mind the need for the solution to adapt smoothly to future growth, with the capacity of warehousing and shipping able to be increased in stages. The previous Cimcorp system was integrated into the new one.

Automated order picking is supplemented by voice picking for products that are not suitable for automated picking by the gantry robots. The
manually picked products are added to the prepared customer-specic pallets and, when a pallet is complete, the Cimcorp system moves it to
the dispatch area.

Cimcorp’s software controls the entire material flow – all transport, storage and order picking operations, high-bay warehousing and voice picking – from Olvi’s production to the loading dock. Everything is combined in one seamless, automated system.

Benefits and results

Traceability is important, as all Olvi’s products have to meet statutory food security and control requirements.

Every individual beverage is traceable from the customer to the production batch.

Realtime inventory is possible, because the Cimcorp software controls all the material and information flows.

Inventory and warehouse control have been 100% accurate and absolutely reliable, and – as all the beverages produced are under one system – operators can see the current inventory at any time.

All beverages have an expiry date, so real-time inventory reduces unnecessary production and losses.

Predicting peaks in production and the most popular delivery dates is easier with accurate data. Predicted production volumes in liters determine how many staff are needed and how many seasonal logistics workers are recruited for the summer season.

Combining the automation, which handles full trays, which makes 90% of the order picking, and voice picking, Olvi can serve the needs of its customers – from the smallest kiosks to the biggest superstores – in one delivery.

Highbay warehouse has 13,800 pallet positions, with six automatic stacker cranes taking care of the material flow and ensuring that the first-in-first-out principle is met.

Deliveries in June and July are 20-25% higher than in the winter months, and preparing for this distribution increase begins in March. During the summer, the brewery is at full capacity.

We have promised our customers almost 100 percent delivery accuracy and we are committed to ensuring that All order picking is done by the Cimcorp solution, and we are happy that it hasn’t caused any delivery delays.

Ilkka Heikkilä, Logistics Foreman, Olvi Brewery Iisalmi
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