12 Factors Driving Food and Beverage Warehouse Automation

Retailers and wholesalers are requiring increased productivity and improved cost effectiveness in the distribution supply chain to remain competitive.

Consumers are demanding more choice, are becoming more price conscious, and are more willing to switch allegiances in order to get better value. Few retailers can command a significant price premium these days. Automation in the warehouse and distribution center is one strategy to reach productivity and cost goals. This white paper will identify 12 factors - from bio-mechanical injuries and harsh working environments to space utilization and strategy for slow movers - which are driving the need to increase the use of automated systems.

Factors Driving Automation

1. Bio-Mechanical Injuries 

Food and beverage distribution centers primarily handle case goods. Case goods tend to be heavy, especially when a worker handles these case loads for an entire shift of operation. Workers will bend, lift and twist hundreds of times a day while handling cases of food product. Injuries can be devastating to the health of workers, not to mention medical and absentee costs. Also, turnover rate in these job functions can be high. 

2. Need for Speed and Accuracy 

Orders for product must be processed, picked, and shipped with ever increasing speed. The trend remains, smaller shipments more often. Accuracy in order fulfillment is of vital importance. Picking errors cannot be tolerated from a customer service and cost standpoint. 

3. Spikes in Throughput 

Seasonal increases in throughput rates require the addition of seasonal labor. Seasonal labor can be difficult to hire, train, motivate and manage.

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