Maxima Latvija unveiled its modernised logistics centre, located in Abras, Ķekava parish. Leading Latvian retailer invested almost 3 million Euro to create the most effective and modern logistics centre in Latvia, increasing efficiency by 30%. This was achieved by implementing a range of innovations: the very narrow aisle solution, artificial intelligence, environmentally-friendly solutions, and a 20% increase in lithium-ion electric loaders. Maxima Latvija maintains its top position in the Baltics as the largest user of a lithium-ion battery-operated fleet.
“We, Maxima Latvija, grow and develop every year by opening a range of new stores in Riga and other regions, therefore our logistics centre must also grow and develop alongside the store chain, becoming even more effective and ensuring we can offer our customers the lowest prices for the highest-quality products. Improving the efficiency of internal processes has proved itself several times over as a crucial condition for ensuring not only a convenient shopping experience for our customers, but also an improved working environment and increased employee productivity. By thoughtfully investing in the latest technologies and process automation, our aim was to increase the value of each employee in our business, at the same time making the working day easier,” comments Viktors Troicins, CEO of Maxima Latvija.
Jānis Endziņš, Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, adds: “During this complicated COVID-19 era, we have noticed that the mood of businesses is unfortunately low, and we are currently more focussed on surviving and implementing the government’s support activities. Despite this, we cannot forget productivity and efficiency solutions, which are an irreplaceable part of promoting business development. By introducing artificial intelligence solutions and the latest technologies, and unveiling their modernised logistics centre at Abras, Maxima Latvija has set an example not just among retailers, but for the logistics industry as a whole.”
More detailed information on the modernised logistics centre:
Very narrow aisle system
To ensure that the warehouse process is optimised, improve the effective use of space and increase product selection efficiency, the logistics centre uses the very narrow aisle warehouse concept. The warehouse has been installed with 10 metre high pallet shelves with very narrow—just 1.80 metres wide—aisles, from which goods are stacked using special narrow aisle forklifts. This is the first very narrow aisle warehouse system in the Maxima group and, thanks to the shelf measurements, it increases productivity by almost 30%: if a 20,000 m 2 logistics centre could previously hold 7,000 items, an 8,000 m 2 logistics centre can now house 11,000 items.
Logistics centre with green thinking
For Maxima Latvija, it is not only important that all processes are efficient, but also that all technical solutions implemented are sustainable and use green energy, which is why all the technology which is needed for the very narrow aisles has been fitted with modern lithium-ion batteries. The electric loaders are driven using a special inductive driving system which allows them to move without steering. Furthermore, by increasing its number of electric loaders by almost a fifth, Maxima Latvija maintains its leading position in the Baltics with the largest lithium-ion fleet. The use of these vehicles reduces electricity consumption by 30%.
To increase energy efficiency, the logistics centre has also been fitted with LED lighting, and aisle lighting turns on when an employee approaches to put together an order. The ramp gates have also been fitted with this type of lighting.
Artificial intelligence solutions
Work at the logistics centre is generally based on automated processes: every day, artificial intelligence calculates each store’s product needs, resulting in the logistics centre packing the required number of products to deliver to all stores throughout Latvia.
The packing process is also automatic, using a voice-activated system: the operator receives information on the products to be packed in their headphones. Thus the logistics process is automated and operators avoid the use of a printed product list.
Delivery vehicle ramps doubled
The Maxima logistics centre at Abras receives more than 150 deliveries from producers every day, and, to serve the almost 200 Maxima stores throughout Latvia, delivery trucks drive more than 170 routes totalling 27 000 km every day. To ensure a faster delivery of goods and fresh produce to stores throughout Latvia, the business has doubled its number of loading docks or ramps, reaching a total of 106, and has built a new access road for easier transport movement.