2020 saw a significant increase in investments in logistics automation in the food and beverage sector. Despite uncertainty in the supply chain of this sector, the coronavirus pandemic has compelled producers and distributors to be more flexible.
The strong impact on consumer habits had a significant influence on the production and distribution chain. Post-pandemic statistics have told us that less people are eating in restaurants and instead eat at home, with an increase in demand for ready-to-eat canned foods.
An increase in demand for frozen and refrigerated foods has also led to a consequent increase in the demand for storage space for frozen foods in the food manufacturing industry.
These and other elements that characterize this historical period for the food industry lead us to say that logistical capacity is perhaps becoming just as important as the production process in food and beverage.
So, what are the essential features of logistics automation for manufacturers and suppliers in F&B? Only through a careful evaluation of the supply chain process is it possible to guarantee value for the customer.
As part of this evaluation, it is necessary to consider some determining variables:
- the availability of work resources and the time for training in the warehouse
- the need to have goods ready in the shortest possible time (more stock and productivity)
- the management of perishable stock
- the cost of real estate and the management of warehouse spaces
- lengthening of lead times (response time)
- untimely refueling.
In consideration of the different market scenarios, Swisslog has identified three approaches that respond to the specific needs of players in the Food & Beverage sector.
An entry level approach involves the introduction of automatic modules that are placed in existing structures, easily extendable and repeatable, with a quick return on investment.
For those who need to optimize storage density, the answer is the creation of self-supporting automatic warehouses that can be directly connected to production.
Maximum efficiency in automation is achieved with a full-automated approach where the entire process (from reception to preparation of the picking pallets) takes place without any human intervention.
During an upcoming webinar, the most innovative logistic technologies for different strategies will be presented, guaranteeing the success of food and beverage producers and distributors.
These include the PowerStore pallet shuttle system, Vectura stacker cranes, the ACPaQ mixed case palletizing solution, and the CarryStar layer picking system. These flexible solutions are suitable for operating in a wide range of environments (from -30 up to 50 ° C), in varied packaging, for warehouses and distribution centers of small, medium and large dimensions.
To learn more, register for the next Digital Masterclass organized by Swisslog entitled “Warehouse automation for F&B: Solutions for a changing landscape.” Together with a guest speaker from Interact Analysis, speakers Giulia Colombi and Simon Cooper from Swisslog will guide you through the benefits of an automated warehouse.