Mars implements supply chain robotics
Written by Chris Lemmon
Food manufacturer Mars has implemented automated handling systems and robotics at its French logistics site.
The site, managed by supply chain service provider XPO, will be able to accommodate up to 10 million packages a year through the new robotics system. The facility manages the storage and distribution of Mars products including Pedigree, Whiskas, M&Ms, Twix, Snickers, Celebrations, Skittles, and Uncle Bens.
The Boigny-sur-Bionne site has been equipped with a robot that can prepare 50,000 to 60,000 packages per day while operating on a continuous basis. It increases reliability by minimising errors, while simultaneously enhancing working conditions.
The robot is able to pick up as many as five stacks of packages at one time to assemble pallets with multiple product codes. Nearly 90% of Mars products are compatible with the automation, which has the flexibility to adapt to the constraints of the various packaging options (glass, cardboard or plastic bags).
Jonathan Jambon, French market supply chain director at Mars, commented: “Our growth in volume, the expansion of our product range and the development of new distribution channels have led to increased demand for layered pallet preparation and package preparation. To adapt to these changes and satisfy our customers, we have put our trust in XPO to design an innovative solution that is both flexible and meets the requirements of Mars Quality standards.”
Richard Cawston, managing director of supply chain at XPO Logistics Europe, added: “In light of the growth of our customer Mars, our challenge was to completely transform the logistics solution by tailoring the latest technical advances in software, robotics and pneumatic equipment, all without disrupting activity. With this new solution, we can realise efficiencies in distribution while lowering operating costs for Mars.”