The food and beverage warehousing industries are coming under increasing pressure to minimise waste in a bid to cut costs and maximise profits at a time when every effort to streamline operations is absolutely essential. Most distributors and warehouses are focusing on four key areas that will reduce waste and errors and help them to grow their profit margins.
Trend 1: Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS)
AS/RS systems are being implemented to optimise the stock picking process and reduce the risk of human error. Without this, there are always risks that the wrong products will be delivered to the wrong customers or not on time, and these kinds of errors can really damage reputations – and the business’s bottom line. High-quality AS/RS systems are integrated with materials handling systems and can increase storage utility by up to 50 per cent whilst lessening the building footprint overall by the same amount.
Trend 2: The use of Warehouse Execution Systems (WES)
WES systems are software-driven and can be used to manage the entire fulfilment process of orders once they are created by the Warehouse Management System. These are integrated into other broader ERP systems, and the increased systemisation drives forward efficiencies and greater integration of previously disparate databases and technologies. This allows warehouses to better direct and control their flows whilst optimising operations in the warehouse to remove the risk of misrouting and delays.
Trend 3: Better use of warehouse space
Again, automation is being used here to great effect. Cold storage facilities in particular are being assessed as being highly expensive, and new automation technologies are ensuring that fewer expensive interior lights are needed and that space is used in the best possible way. This can cut costs by up to 40 per cent, given that most frozen warehouses have lights on 24/7 without this kind of optimisation. This is a trend that combined with the use of garage shelving and pallet racking sourced from options including https://www.garage-shelving.co.uk increases utilisation of recycled materials.
Trend 4: Robotics
Large warehouses and distribution centres are also investing in robotics for picking, allowing operations to happen faster and more accurately. They can do everything from dispense food to replenish shelves and distribute, automate and retrieve goods without the issues that invariably occur with a human workforce.