Food Logistics

OCT 2014

Food Logistics serves the entire food supply chain industry with targeted content for manufacturers, retailers, and distributors.

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26 OCTOBER 2014 • FOOD LOGISTICS SECTOR REPORTS W A R E H O U S E : S t o r a g e S o l u t i o n s W ith food and beverage manu- facturers introducing more SKUs to meet the demands of a more diverse customer base, supply chain decision makers are increasingly scru- tinizing their warehouse storage layouts and racking systems. Supply chain managers look for ways to improve storage density while at the same time reduce product damage caused by their method of storage. Decision makers also have to consider safety and sustainability. Much attention of late has focused on automated storage and retrieval systems and automatic guided vehicles which offer new storage and retrieval options. Automation, however, requires an investment that not all companies can afford. This article does not address automated systems as such solutions merit their own articles. Static racking systems include numerous options. There are two main types of sys- tems: those designed for warehouses storing large volumes of a limited number SKUs, and those storing smaller volumes of a larger number of SKUs. Drive-in racking, where the forklifts access the rack from an aisle, remains the dominant configuration in f&b manufacturing DCs. Pushback racking, with rails installed at the front of each lane to enable pallets to move back and forth, supports full pallet storage and retrieval. Single-deep pallet racking has low storage density and is good for storing fast-changing SKUs that are retrieved on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis. The most efficient rack configuration depends on how the available space in a ware- house matches the volume of inventory, the number of SKUs, how frequently the inven- tory turns, the lift truck equipment and labor capability. In some cases, the height of the warehouse also comes into play. Goya Foods, Inc., in its new headquar- ters/distribution facility in Jersey City, N.J., opted to install pallet-flow and pushback racks instead of the drive-in racks it was using in its previous facility, notes Peter Unanue, executive vice president. Pallet-flow racks are on the ground level; pushback racks are above and replenish the pallet-flow racks. "It will allow us to keep an aisle more full more of the time," Unanue says. "By utilizing pal- let flow, we will separate replenishment aisles from picking aisles." Goya Foods considered installing multiple platforms and having an automated conveyor system, but this would have been a much bigger investment. The company has the option of installing an automated conveyor system in the future, Unanue says. In response to customer demands, many f&b product manufacturers are developing large, centralized distribution centers designed to ship both full pallets with a single SKU as well as partial pallets with a mix of multiple SKUs on the same pallet. "Frequently, we will see facilities that are built with high-density unit load racking configured to handle the full pallets, combined with less dense racks to support layer picking and 'each picking' to support the mixed SKU deliveries," says John Krummell, president of Advance Storage Products, a rack manufacturer. Warehouses that support ecommerce often use carton flow racks in which retail units can be taken out of a master carton to fulfill single-item purchases. DCs use carton flow racks for general merchandise, health and beauty aids and specialty food items, which are slower moving SKUs, says Marc Wulfraat, president of MWPVL International Inc., a Montreal, Canada-based supply chain con- sulting firm. Such warehouses usually have carton flow racks at the ground level where employees can pick single items; the upper rack levels can store reserve pallets. High density storage at less cost A new type of high-density storage media called a flow-rail system can be installed using existing post and beam or drive-in racking systems, Wulfraat says. Two or three rails need to be installed for the full depth of the rack structure which can be up to 10 positions in depth. The box-shaped rails are bolted onto the horizontal beams of back-to- back, single-deep racks. A chain within the box-shaped rail rotates clockwise and coun- terclockwise within the rail to allow pallets to How Do You Rack It? Static racking systems offer more ways to stock and replenish inventory. By Elliot Maras The new Goya Foods facility in Jersey City, N.J. has pallet-flow and pushback racks, overseen by Bob, left, and Peter Unanue. Wakefern Foods in Edison, N.J. uses a carton flow rack, shown by Don Russo, gro- cery operations manager. Cases are loaded in the rear and picked from the front.

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