July 30 2018

Sales period 2

By: Megan Hyman, Westfalia Technologies

The weather is beautiful and the sight of cookouts and pool parties are everywhere! But what does warm weather outside indicate for your business? For numerous industries, specifically food and beverage, summer is the peak season and this can mean spikes in product sales. If a company is not properly prepared, it can cause countless issues within their supply chain. No worries, we’ve got the solution to alleviate some of your summer stress: warehouse automation.

In a typical factory setting, a company would need to hire additional labor during their peak season. However, in an automated warehouse, this is not the case. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are flexible systems that can adapt instantaneously to a larger demand. What’s more, an increase in demand may lead to the need to store more goods in your warehouse. Automation capitalizes on high density storage techniques which minimize a building’s overall footprint by up to 50%. This makes it possible to store more products in the same amount of space as a conventional warehouse.

Warehouse automation gives companies a competitive advantage by offering unmatched benefits such as:

  • Diminished risk of human error
  • Waste reduction
  • Increased accuracy
  • Time savings due to the lack of backups in production
  • Lowered costs
  • Higher output quantity
  • Ability to work around the clock, 7 days a week with no breaks
  • Huge increase in productivity due to continuous production

Problems with labor efficiency and order accuracy often plague a company that has seasonal sales periods. Yet these are the kinds of advantages that automation presents, making it much easier to handle hectic times of year.

Along with AS/RS, warehouse execution system (WES) software is crucial to dealing with seasonality variations. A good, high quality WES will be easy-to-use and employ sophisticated storage and retrieval algorithms to maximize space utilization in your warehouse. Higher storage volume means that warehouses can accommodate higher order volumes for your busy seasons. WES can create an organized database to effectively manage and track inventory. Every operation is unique and a good WES should be flexible and able to be modified to fit the specific needs of your warehouse.

Westfalia Technologies has seen success with this type of work at Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc.® in Chambersburg, PA. Martin’s is the producer of the No. 1 branded hamburger bun in the United States so, naturally, they experience a huge influx of orders in the summertime because of grilling and other festivities. Martin’s was struggling with space constraints and order fulfillment errors and decided to turn to warehouse automation as the perfect solution for their business. Westfalia provided relief to their seasonal sales stress by increasing their order accuracy to 95% and delivering a 50% improvement in labor efficiency. Thanks to the new automation, throughput times for outbound orders were increased, outbound order accuracy was improved, and moveable cabs were installed on the S/RMs to allow for safer and easier maintenance. Another key benefit of this AS/RS is that Martin’s is now able to take order changes up until the last minute without having to do any preplanning. This helps tremendously during their peak season because it is difficult to predict what sales might be.

The seasonal nature of the food and beverage industries has been known to put a strain on supply chain activities. Warehouse automation eliminates the common problems facing seasonal businesses throughout the flows of their entire sales cycle. So relax, enjoy the summer season, and let automation take care of your business.

Learn more about automation for bakeries by reading our white paper.