Revolutionising Warehousing Through Automation
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018
Poul Lorentzen, general manager of Consoveyo—the Portugal-based system integrator and leading provider of automated material handling systems—speaks to APFI about the relevance of automated warehousing in the food industry today.
The uptake of automated warehousing solutions has been relatively slower in Asia—what are the challenges Asian manufacturers are facing?
In Asia, there is inertia to change because labour is generally inexpensive, and there is a perception that automation is expensive and difficult to maintain. Additionally, warehousing regulations in Asia are not readily enforced, so the impetus to invest in new, complex systems can be quite low.
However, manufacturers who take a long-term view of the benefits of automating their warehouses will typically find that the benefits easily outweigh the costs.
For example, most food manufacturers do not give much thought to storing their products, especially for perishables. Instead, attention is paid to improving production facilities. Yet, in times of business growth—when production volumes increase, manufacturers often realise that they need to more acutely consider downstream processes, and that is where our suite of customisable solutions come into play.
With automated warehousing solutions, manufacturers can realise revenue increases in the long run, as they achieve higher levels of efficiency and productivity. This is especially important when production rate increases and existing manpower is unable to handle large volume as quickly and efficiently as an automated system can.
With automated systems in place, pallets of food products are unlikely to go missing, so waste is ultimately reduced, and keeping track of large inventory is easier.
What are the benefits of integrating automation solutions to a warehouse?
The mark of an effective automated warehouse lies in its ability to provide manufacturers with efficiency and productivity for their storage and dispatch operations. One of the key benefits of automating the warehouse environment is the overall reduction in downtime, which can be attributed to a lower incidence of human error and higher productivity levels with continuous 24/7 warehouse operations.
Furthermore, with the use of automated logistics and technologies, companies can overcome manpower shortages and greatly reduce the need for staff training.
Our customers enjoy several improvements with the implementation of our automation solutions:
- Higher productivity and efficiency;
- Reduced human errors that result in higher accuracy in orders;
- Increase in workplace safety;
- Space optimization;
- Absolute inventory control, including the ability to pinpoint inventory and product movement;
- Smoother inventory flow;
- Traceability, which reduces losses related to perishables through the management of expiration dates, and also allows product recalls to be carried out effectively;
- Reduced reliance on manual labor, as automated warehouses can operate throughout the day;
- An increase in throughput, as there isn’t a need to have many people in the warehouse doing the same task and employees can focus on carrying out value- added services;
- Eliminate accidents caused by manually operated material handling equipment, for example forklifts.
What are some new products Consoveyo is launching this year?
Together with our sister companies, we are constantly refining and updating our existing suite of solutions to better serve the needs of our customers and to improve their logistics processes.
That said, the logistics industry does not see major technological product launches as frequently as some other industries do. What is vital for our customers, however, is the way in which we customise our solutions and software to help address their challenges and fulfil their warehousing needs.
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