October 16 2018

Common misconceptions about automation

For many, a BBQ is not complete without the staple potato roll. Not just ANY potato roll, but a Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe® Potato roll. The quality of the rolls coming out of the bag feels like you are grabbing them straight off the production line. But how does Martin’s deliver such a fresh product? The answer to that is high quality ingredients, a dedication to freshness from all employees, and help from automation technology.

Pick Up the Potato Roll

Bakeries need an efficient warehouse to get the freshest possible product to the store. To maintain Martin’s® high quality standards, they installed an AS/RS (automated storage and retrieval system) with 2 tandem storage and retrieval machines (S/RM). Finished product bread trays are stacked onto pallets from production and stored in racking near their outbound staging lanes where they await their shipment.

Using a high-density system increased their space utilization by 50%, creating a tightly packed warehouse that can move product in an efficient manner and that can handle the high throughput of the summer while still being cost-efficient for the slower months. Martin’s® also uses a “first in first out” mentality when it comes to their bakery products so that each pallet is fresh and there is a limited chance of sending out products that aren’t up to the standards.

Pick the Perfect Pallet

When loading trucks with product, it is very important to pick in the correct order. When that loading counts on mostly human labor, there is a greater chance for mistakes. Martin’s® needed to create a highly accurate system, so they decided to use automation to their advantage by implementing an automated layer picker to their system to create mixed pallets for customers.

This system also utilizes “Just-in-time” picking to shave off more time from outbound orders. When a truck’s order is received from the WMS, the ASRS and layer picking system will work together to properly fill the product staging lanes with limited need for fork trucks or workers. When the truck pulls up, the order is taken off the lanes in shipping using a fork truck to put the order into the trailer to transport the products to the store. The automated layer pick solution coupled with the AS/RS was the right choice for Martins, as the increased their order accuracy by 95%, while improving labor efficiency by 50%.

Pick It Up!

Holidays can be a stressful time for bakeries. For Martin’s®, the summer is their busiest season. For conventional warehouses, this would be the time to hire temp workers to keep the orders on time with shipping. These workers are new in your warehouse and can also have high turnover rates. With the stress of high production, they wanted to eliminate the problem of being understaffed. To mitigate the demands and stress of the busy season, Martin’s® leaned on their automation to keep up with their orders without hiring and training new workers in the warehouse. Using automation, Martin’s® can now focus more on their quality products, and less on how it will get to the trucks.

When fresh products are a staple in your warehouse, every minute counts. Martin’s commitments to quality and freshness were a great fit for automation. See it in action here! If you are looking to automate your warehouse, contact us today and let our sales and engineering teams evaluate your warehouse. We can help create a unique system that can accomplishes the goals that you need to continue to grow into the future.