In these uncertain times when consumers are displaying erratic purchasing behaviors, food business owners are facing the important yet tricky challenge of having full and proper control over their supply chain and inventory. So as the food and beverage (F&B) industry gets increasingly competitive and innovative, it is vital that food manufacturers adopt automated warehousing solutions in order to survive.
Designed to meet each food manufacturer’s unique needs and goals, automated warehousing solutions can bring a plethora of benefits to the supply chain system.
Improved labor efficiency
Efficiency within a supply chain can be boosted by automating physical tasks. In an automated warehouse, machines transport goods ranging from pallets and boxes to single SKUs completely and automatically. For example, a turnkey interfloor conveyor system at JTC Food Hub @ Senoko in Singapore supports the transportation of palletized goods between the tenants’ factory units and the integrated cold room and warehouse facility (CWF). The system helps to save time by reducing the need for workers to physically move pallets to and from the CWF.
Higher warehouse throughput
Increased market demand for easier and quicker access to F&B items can place a great amount of pressure on food manufacturers to keep up. Super Bock Group, Portugal’s largest soft drinks company, enhanced its warehouse with a selection of smart solutions and integrated the new machines with a SAP ERP, an enterprise resource planning software. With the new solutions in place, Super Bock was able to increase its warehouse handling rate and prevent errors from occurring during the order preparation process.
Warehouse systems transparency
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) provide real-time, end-to-end transparency throughout supply chains. As a software platform that automates internal warehouse logistics, WMS make intelligent, real-time decisions that direct movement within a warehouse. A WMS is similar to inventory management software, as it helps warehouse operators track and control product movement. It also provides plenty of information to operators. The information ranges from KPIs such as service levels to very detailed process data, like truck positions and inventory volume.
Smart solutions automate redundant physical tasks, such as transporting materials to and from different operations within a warehouse. Automated machines like Rail Guided Vehicles (RGVs) are efficient and cost-effective options for complex sorting applications or to connect very distant points. Employing RGVs to manage warehouse logistics allows F&B manufacturers to scale down the cost of unproductive labor. Warehouse workers can use the time savings to upgrade their skills and knowledge or to focus on other value-added operations, such as packing, shipping and quality checks to ensure accuracy.
Maximizing storage volume
Warehouse operators can maximize the use of underutilized overhead warehouse space by employing smart material handling solutions such as Automated Storage and Retrieval Solutions (ASRS). In many cases, the additional volume created enabled storage for a much greater amount of inventory. For example, AB InBev’s Magor Brewery’s multiple-depth storage solution allowed the company to maximize its storage density in its finished goods warehouse, increasing capacity from two to six pallets per rack lane.
Uncertain times are not easy for food manufacturers, especially when it is nearly impossible to predict consumers’ buying patterns. F&B business owners will do well to seek the expertise of intralogistics solutions providers such as Körber to help mitigate warehousing challenges with smart solutions. Flexible and customizable to suit customers’ needs, Körber’s solutions are well poised to help F&B businesses run their businesses more efficiently while delivering value-added services.