The management of food and beverages involves a staggering amount of complexity. There are many moving elements, a wide variety of commodities and products, and strict regulations that must be upheld. As a result, the food and beverage industry has transformed throughout the past few decades. In the food business, there has been a significant transition from a manual inventory management system to a fully automated system. To be successful in today’s very competitive food processing business requires a robust and automated warehouse management system.
This article will dive deeper into the benefits of automated warehousing solutions for the food and beverage industry. Let’s first understand warehouse automation.
What is warehouse automation?
Automating inventory movement into, within, and out of warehouses to customers with the least amount of human intervention is known as warehouse automation. A company can reduce labor-intensive tasks that require repeated physical work, manual data entry, and analysis as part of an automation initiative.
For instance, a warehouse employee can put large products onto an autonomous mobility robot. The software tracks the movement of the inventory as it is moved by the robot from one end of the warehouse to the shipment zone, keeping all data up to date. These robots increase this task’s effectiveness, swiftness, dependability, and precision.
However, warehouse automation does not necessarily entail physical or robotic automation and frequently just refers to using software to substitute for human activities.
How does warehouse automation work?
Automation in warehouses operates by automating operations using software and technology such as robotics and sensors. These products complement current solutions like inventory management software.
Business-critical processes in your facilities can better fulfill consumer demand with the aid of warehouse automation. A warehouse management system is the first step in the process since it automates manual tasks, collects data, controls inventory, and facilitates data analysis. In order to effectively manage and automate processes across many business and supply chain functions, these systems interface with other solutions.
Benefits of using automated warehouse management in the food industry
Businesses are turning to automated solutions that maximize resources and reduce the amount of time spent holding the goods to handle the increasing amount of perishable, high-turnover stock in cold stores and freezer warehouses.
The following are some key benefits of purchasing automated storage and transportation solutions:
1. Improved labor efficiency
By automating manual operations, a supply chain’s efficiency can be increased. In an automated warehouse, machines entirely and automatically transfer commodities ranging from pallets and cartons to a single SKU. For instance, a turnkey inter-floor conveyor system can assist in the transit of palletized items between the tenants’ production units and the integrated cool room and warehouse facilities (CWF). Therefore, automation helps to save time by eliminating the need for employees to physically carry pallets to and from the CWF.
2. Higher warehouse throughput
The food manufacturing industry encounters a lot of strain from rising consumer demand for food and beverage products that are simpler to get. With a variety of clever solutions and by integrating the new robots with enterprise resource planning software, food and beverage enterprises may improve their warehousing. For instance, incorporating Wireless Pick-to-light devices makes it easier for warehouse workers to locate items using indicator lights. The software identifies the product location using barcode/QR code data and triggers color-coded inventory devices to flash upon racks, shelves, or carts. As a result, the order preparation process is sped up, resources are saved, and errors are avoided.
3. Warehouse systems transparency
Supply chains benefit from real-time, end-to-end transparency thanks to warehouse management systems. These software platforms automate Internal warehouse operations and make intelligent and timely decisions that control movement inside a warehouse. A warehouse management system aids warehouse operators in monitoring and controlling the movement of products, much like inventory management software. Additionally, it offers operators a wealth of information. The data spans from warehouse key performance indicators (KPIs) like putaway cost efficiency to incredibly comprehensive process data like truck movements and inventory quantities.
4. Cost reduction
Intelligent solutions automate laborious physical processes that are redundant, such as moving commodities between operations in a warehouse. Automated devices, such as rail-guided vehicles (RGVs), are practical and affordable solutions for connecting extremely far-flung locations or for complex sorting applications. The cost of unproductive labor can be reduced for food and beverage firms by using RGVs to handle warehouse logistics. Operators can use the time saved by using automated systems to enhance their skills and knowledge or be reassigned to duties with a higher value, such as packing, shipping, and quality checks to assure accuracy.
5. Maximizing storage volume
Employing intelligent material handling techniques, such as automated storage and retrieval solutions, warehouse operators can make the most of underutilized overhead warehouse space (ASRS). Stacker cranes are another example of an automated solution that helps keep combined cycles going nonstop while reducing the amount of space needed for storing and extracting goods. The food business places a high focus on space efficiency; by storing more commodities in the least amount of space feasible, the facility’s energy efficiency is improved.
It is difficult for food makers to deal with products with a limited shelf life, especially since it is so difficult to foresee consumers’ purchasing habits. To reduce warehouse difficulties with enterprise-level inventory management, manufacturing, and sales channel integration solutions, food and beverage business owners should seek the experience of reliable ERP providers.
DEAR System (now becoming Cin7 Core) is well-positioned to assist food and beverage firms operate their operations more efficiently while delivering value-added services.
Want to learn more? Give us a call, and our professionals can help you through the warehouse management system implementation process.