Coal - Productivity increases and customer service improves thanks to its new logistics

The Marche-based cooperative has upgraded its logistics with the Flexy pallet shuttle. The new intensive semi-automatic storage system translates into +30% productivity and 1,000 more pallets stored.

Client: Coal
Sector: large-scale food distribution
Location: Camerano (Ancona)

The Coal Group has more than 60 years of experience in the large-scale food distribution sector. This important cooperative in the Marche region gathers more than 200 members and has a sales network of about 330 stores in different parts of Italy - Marche and Abruzzo, where there is the greatest concentration, as well as Umbria, Molise, Emilia Romagna, Lazio and San Marino - with a turnover at the checkouts of more than 550 million euros.
At the logistical level, the company is organized into 2 distribution centers: the Camerano facility, for the management of packaged consumer products, and the Mosciano facility for the products related to the agri-food sector.


The management of consumer products involves significant handling operations: 53,000 packages per day for a total of 12,000 SKUs. These figures make logistics a critical component of the Camerano distribution center. Being well aware of the importance of logistics, Coal conducted an analysis aimed at implementing a more efficient organization of its warehouse. The objective, in addition to responding to business needs that evolve over time, is to guarantee both high quality service at the points of sale and the maximum effectiveness of supply chain management.

As a result of the assessment carried out by the Faculty of Engineering of Padua University, Coal decided to rely on the expertise of the Ferretto Group to upgrade the logistical structure of its facilities. Picking and placing flows highlighted the possibility of improving distribution and enhancing it in terms of storage logics through the optimization of picking and the adaptation of the storage system's layout, which are intended to facilitate handling and order fulfillment operations. A real added value of any corporate reorganization. After accurate analysis, two Ferretto Group solutions were implemented:
- a Fast Picking Area, with a multi-depth shelving storage system managed by Flexy pallet shuttles. This upgrade led to new work methods and a significant increase in space and productivity. This area provides storage for 140 high-turnover SKUs which represent 25% of the total and 30% of the picking;
- a Slow Moving Area with gravity roller conveyors. This solution is ideal for the high-density storage of homogeneous products with high turnover. It is very useful for the management of perishable products or those with short shelf lives typical of the sector.

The two solutions have multiple objectives, but they all lead to the increased efficiency of flows towards the points of sale.

With the new system, Coal can also count on the WMS software developed in-house by the Ferretto Group. The system interfaces with the logistic management system which manages placing activities through radio frequency technology and picking activities through voice communication.
From an Industry 4.0 perspective, the in-out data transfer is continuous and guaranteed for all processing phases.

The intensive semi-automatic storage system solution supported by Flexy shuttles has led to a significant increase in productivity, about 30%, and provides extra space for more than 1,000 pallets.
Considering the entire project, and therefore also the Slow Moving Area with roller conveyors, the new system provides for a total of more than 2,000 additional pallet spaces.
The improved management of space aims to meet Coal's growth objectives, while simultaneously ensuring significant strengthening and improvement of the service provided to its members, the true value of the cooperative. Thanks to this project, Coal has redesigned its logistics in the name of efficiency, reorganizing an area that today not only provides a service but also produces value.

  • Reorganize the logistics structure by optimizing picking and facilitating order fulfillment
  • Increase storage capacity
  • Improve productivity
  • Strengthen service to the points of sale
  • Multi-depth pallet racking with seismic-resistant structure made up of 4 load levels
  • Flexy pallet shuttles for handling pallets up to 6 places deep inside the load channels
  • Ground level shelving with FIFO gravity roller conveyors
  • Ferretto Group developed warehouse management software (WMS) interconnected to the corporate ERP
Value added:
  • Increased storage capacity
  • Faster order preparation
  • Better stock management
  • Reduced risk of damaging goods
  • Greater exchange of information between the logistics sector and other company departments
The storage system in figures:
Warehouse area:
2,700 m2
Shelving type 1:
Seismic-resistant multi-depth pallet racking supported by Flexy pallet shuttles
Shelving type 2:
Shelving with FIFO gravity roller conveyors at ground level
Racking height:
8 m
Load levels:
Unit loads:
Europallet 800 mm x 1,200 mm x H 1,500/1,800 mm
Maximum number of pallets in depth:
67 ULs
Storage capacity:
3,460 pallets

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