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Fresh and clean groceries: how to secure food safety in distribution centers

Distribution distribution center fresh food grocery retail

Food safety is paramount in grocery stores, restaurants and households. The World Health Organization has listed five ways to keep your food as safe as possible to prevent any health issues: keep everything clean; separate raw and cooked food; cook food thoroughly; keep food at safe temperatures; and use safe water and raw materials.

Here at Cimcorp, we have an impact even before groceries reach the store. We help ensure safe and healthy logistics for fresh produce, from field to table. When it comes to logistics automation and food safety, not all solutions are created equally.

Our gantry robot solutions meet the unique needs of the fresh food industry. Whether it’s allowing for shelf- and rack-free storage, or enabling high throughput for perishable foods, all aspects of our solutions are tailor-made for supporting safety in the food industry.

How Cimcorp’s automation solutions improve food safety

1. Keep clean with our open-floor concept

Safety and cleanliness at food production facilities have become interesting and important topics for consumers over the past few years. But for food manufacturers and distributors, sanitation has always been a constant concern. With Cimcorp’s automated storage and order picking systems, companies can maintain the safety of fresh food easily throughout the intralogistics journey.

How? It all comes down to our unique and efficient open-floor concept.

“Cimcorp’s fresh food solution meets safety requirements extremely well. This is one of the biggest benefits of the open-floor concept. It’s very easy to keep clean.”

Kari Miikkulainen, our Director in Warehouse and Distribution Sales.

Our innovative overhead gantry robots store and access inventory in crates – all stacked in high-density storage areas directly on the warehouse floor. This design completely eliminates the need for traditional racking or shelving, which are prone to collect dust and dirt, and are difficult to clean for routine sanitation or accidental spills. 

Cimcorp’s solutions drastically reduce the amount of time and effort involved. Our gantry robots can clear the floor in just minutes, leaving everything open for easy cleaning.

Furthermore, automation significantly reduces human involvement in product handling. Cleaning needs are streamlined as human contact with food is reduced, leading to safer and more efficient handling processes.

2. Segmentation provides flexibility

With traditional automation solutions, cleaning can be a big disruption to operations. All sorting, picking and distribution activities may need to be stopped, interrupting the flow of order fulfillment. However, Cimcorp’s solutions are modular in design. This means operations can be easily segmented, allowing our customers to continue as usual in other sections while one module is being cleaned or maintained. This reduces downtime and increases efficiency. Because time is money.

A second benefit of segmentation is the reduced possibility for cross-contamination. With an easily customizable, modular system, food distributors can segment their logistics, leveraging the power of automation in multiple defined zones of their facilities and keeping cross-contaminants from coming into contact.

3. More shelf life: faster from field to store

One of the major benefits of automation is increased efficiency and faster order fulfillment. And by increasing speed, we can move produce faster from field to store, getting more shelf life for the goods.

At Mercadona, Spain’s biggest grocery retailer, we have successfully halved the time from field to store by moving produce faster in the company’s distribution centers. This leads to longer shelf life and fresher produce.

Fresh and perishable food products are temperature sensitive. The longer food spends outside of its proper temperature range, the quicker it spoils. Spoiled food not only costs businesses money, but it can also be dangerous for consumers. For this reason, companies must look for the fastest solution to move food products from the production line into a temperature-controlled storage area, where it can be picked and loaded onto trucks. 

With Cimcorp’s solution, grocery retailers can reliably and rapidly move perishable food throughout their distribution centers, which directly translates to maximum shelf life, longer sales windows and safer food consumption.

4. Traceability and real-time monitoring

Food traceability is a big component of food safety. In cases of possible food contamination and recalls, companies must be able to have traceability for affected products

When products move through food distribution centers, each packaged product receives a unique barcode. With Cimcorp’s Warehouse Management System (WMS), food distributors can automate the capture of barcode data and the uploading of tracking data to online databases.

“The most valuable feature is the ability to monitor the current picking situation. We can track our progress in relation to the daily target,” explains Ilkka Heikkilä, Logistics Foreman at Olvi brewery, one of our customers for almost two decades.

In doing so, food distributors can ensure traceability of products. Then, if any recalls occur, companies can quickly locate the affected products and keep them from landing on the plates of consumers.

Hungry for more?

Learn how we helped supermarket giant Kroger ensure optimal quality and freshness for its dairy products.

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