Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe Inc. finds the summer season really good for business—except mostly manual practices in the warehouse put a real crimp on the way the company would really like to handle the distribution side of its supply chain.

Using completely manual processes for order picking and fulfillment would take considerable time so operations had to compensate in the planning and preparation of loads by spending hours in advance of dispatch. This created real problems when last-minute changes in orders would complicate getting the shipments correct before they left the dock.

With more products going out the door during the peak summer months, the facility struggled with space constraints as well as an increase in seasonal staff. There were also concerns over employee safety while bending, lifting and moving products around the warehouse as well as risks for errors in order fulfillment.

After conducting extensive research into the different warehouse automation solutions on the market and seeing them in action, Martin’s found one that impressed in terms of speed and accuracy. The baker decided on Cimcorp’s MultiPick robotic material handling solution.

After conducting a throughput analysis, Cimcorp determined a combination of high-density pallet storage and retrieval along with the MultiPick solution would be the best solution.

The picking system that was chosen and installed has a storage capacity of 19,000 trays and 66 SKUs, from which the MultiPick picks 21,000 trays per day. An automated pallet storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) provided by Westfalia Technologies replenishes the inventory under the MultiPick system.

Two MultiPick gantry robots move the inventory one stack at a time, to storage positions on the floor. Within the footprint of the Cimcorp gantry bridges are approximately 1,300 stack positions.

The trays required for customer pallets are picked by the robots, formed into multi-SKU stacks and placed on an outbound conveyor where they are transported to an automate palletizer. After palletizing, the mixed SKU pallets receive an RFID enabled band before merging with full single SKU pallets coming from the Westfalia AS/RS system. The pallets are accumulated and sequenced on a separate conveyor, which enables Martins to live load its trailers.

Cimcorp’s order picking solution has helped Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe improve space utilization. The system stores, processes and fulfills in 50 percent of the space that was previously used in a manual process. The rapid handling of products provided by Cimcorp enables the bakery to schedule and prepare orders within an hour of a truck’s anticipated arrival.

In addition to promoting greater efficiencies throughout the warehouse, the new system enables faster truck loading for more on-time deliveries to be made. Plus, orders don’t need to be prepared hours in advance, so last-minute order changes can be taken without disrupting operations.

“We feel very confident in the efficiency gains that we have attained as well as the labor savings and order accuracy that we’ve enhanced through use of these systems,” says Tony Martin, executive vice president of Martin’s.

The bakery now has visibility across its whole order fulfillment process to facilitate better order planning. Further, the system collects data on the movement of all goods—from the production line. through the warehouse, to the store shelf—providing 100 percent traceability.

By automating, the bakery has been able to reduce its workforce and man hours by 30 percent. In addition, automation has eliminated the inherent safety risks in personnel manually fulfilling orders. Less human intervention has also helped increase the accuracy of outbound orders.

For more information: Derek Rickard, Cimcorp, 905-516-7513,