Nowhere is the need for efficiency and accuracy greater than in the logistics industry, where failures or delays in warehouse product retrieval, packaging and distribution are not only a problem for the distributors, but for everyone along the entire supply chain, effecting even end-consumers themselves.
Waste minimisation is therefore a central part of any strategy to increase profitability and efficiency. Food and beverage distributors can boost efficiency and improve experiences throughout the supply chain by considering the warehousing strategies below.
Automate Storage and Rationalise Space
Food and beverage warehouse distribution companies, due to the perishable nature of the goods stored, have specific requirements that increase costs vis-a-vis competitors. Features such as cold storage facilities, lighting and refrigeration are energy-intensive, driving up expenditure. Additionally, as stock and inventory levels increase, space becomes a premium and facilities have to be expanded, further increasing costs.
Automation is a viable solution to reduce energy costs. In traditional refrigerated warehouses, lights are on constantly. Automated storage facilities require less interior lighting due to robots being able to function in the dark, unlike their human counterparts, which can reduce energy usage from 20 to 40 per cent. Initial outlay is compensated for by the fact that automated palleting systems and stock-keeping units also allow for far more efficient utilisation of space, and pallet racking in Ireland and the UK can be acquired from numerous companies like Rackzone and others.
Reduce the Scope for Human Error
Even the most experienced logistics manager occasionally makes mistakes. Delayed deliveries negatively effect both the reputation and the profitability of the company. Automated storage/retrieval systems (AS/RS) are designed to minimise errors by simplifying the human component of the picking process, increasing successful order fulfilment.
Such systems also permit food and beverage warehouse facilities to store the same amount of goods in a much smaller volume of space, increasing capacity upwards of 40 to 50 per cent. Machines can compute optimal storage patterns based on a number of factors, and speedily physically retrieve goods from the inventory for palletisation and dispatch.
Yet another advantage is that automated systems allow for huge amounts of data capture, creating the ability to forecast future demand, preventing wasted stock and space. In a business where customer expectations continuously rise, the potential for delivery of increased efficiency to a complex supply chain cannot be overlooked.
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