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Swisslog examines how automated systems can benefit the F&B industry

Global warehouse and logistics automation leader, Swisslog, is introducing the second part of its white paper series “The ultimate moving feast: serious challenges face the food and beverage industry.”

Part 1, “A changing landscape” was released on Inside FMCG in March. Part 2, “The benefits of using automation to stay agile and competitive” is now being released, and will focus on how warehouse automation can deliver the agility, adaptability and futureproofing needed for food and beverage companies to not only survive, but thrive profitably in such a volatile landscape.

“We’re not saying that automation is a silver bullet solution, and will suddenly solve all problems facing the food and beverage industry, but it is an essential tool in remaining flexible enough to adapt to change, and productive enough to stay profitable,” says Mr Arijit Biswas, Senior Consultant – Consumer Goods, Swisslog Australia.

“And when you consider all the challenges discussed in part 1, including Covid-19 impacts, flexibility and adaptability to change are qualities all food and beverage companies are striving for,” he said.

Ongoing automation benefits discussed in the white paper include:

  • Efficient inventory management, resulting in prompt order fulfilment and less waste
  • Time-phased Replenishment Planning (efficient, automated and continuous replenishment)
  • Optimisation of master data in supply chain management
  • Planning of sales and operations
  • Stock density and personnel safety
  • Track and traceability systems, plus meeting consistent and quality packaging and hygiene requirements

The paper will also discuss the benefits of the integration of automated warehousing and logistics, choosing the right technology, and the benefits of specifying automation technologies early.

“Because the automation strategy is integral to building design, where possible, businesses should select the automation system before the building is designed. This allows the building designer to fully leverage the capabilities of the system to achieve greater efficiencies. It may mean that a smaller space is required, leading to reduced land or leasing costs and reduced power and utilities costs,” said Mr Biswas.

Case studies

Lastly, the new white paper will look at three case studies of globally respected food and beverage companies who have adopted automated systems, and are seeing strong benefits in their operations. The case studies, which are among hundreds of examples of Swisslog automation systems operating globally, include:

Laurent Bakery, Victoria, Australia, which installed an automated solution designed for enhanced storage-density (5-deep and 10-deep storage with over 5000 pallet locations), utilising fully-automated Vectura stacker cranes for storage and retrieval of palletised goods.

Lineage Logistics, Texas, USA, which has a 96,000sqft (approx. 8900sqm) facility equipped with Swisslog’s PowerStore automated pallet storage and retrieval system. It serves as a template for the company’s next generation of cold storage warehouses, as their operations continue to expand.

Apetito, Rheine, Germany, a leader in frozen, ready-made meals, which has as the centrepiece of its new logistics and distribution centre, an automated carton warehouse with a connected order picking area. On a footprint of 1085sqm, the facility houses a 35 x 31 x 21 metre (LxWxH) automated small-parts warehouse with 77,500 storage locations. Maintained at a temperature of minus 24 degrees Celsius, the warehouse is used to store food packed in boxes. The average storage period is 1.5 days.

“What’s clear from these diverse case studies is how customisable automation solutions can be. Each company has unique needs and Swisslog worked closely with their teams to develop an ideal solution that would deliver ongoing benefits,” said Mr Biswas.

The first part of this white paper series, The ultimate moving feast: serious challenges face the food and beverage industry: Part 1: “A changing landscape“, can be downloaded here.

The second part of this white paper series, The ultimate moving feast: serious challenges face the food and beverage industry: Part 2:“ The benefits of using automation to stay agile and competitive”, can be downloaded here.