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Transforming the Despatch Process in Finished Goods Warehouses

The traditional approach to managing your own finished goods warehouse is fairly common. The warehouse stores a combination of full and broken pallets. These may be block stacked with the broken pallet at the front or in different types of racking depending on the number of SKUs.

The process of preparing loads ready for despatch involves several forklift trucks and operators moving around the warehouse picking up the relevant pallets and placing them in a marshalling area ready to be loaded on to a wagon.

Where mixed pallets are required for the load, the forklift and its operator are required to visit a number of locations around the warehouse and collect the required number of cases from each of the broken pallets.

Sound familiar?

It’s the approach in 99% of finished goods warehouses, whether they are managed inhouse by your own warehouse manager or outsourced to a third-party storage provider.

There are several challenges in this scenario caused by the traditional “man to goods” approach and the changing dynamic of the market is making these challenges more and more acute.

This is being driven by an ever-demanding client base who want a service which is tailored to their specific requirements and an ever-increasing number of SKUs making the stock portfolio even more complex.

Whether it’s the number of pallet positions, the number of forklifts, the number of operators, the number of loads to be despatched or the time it takes to prepare and load a wagon, there is no question it is becoming more difficult.

More picking faces are required to accommodate the growth in SKUs. More people are required to prepare mixed pallets, which requires more forklifts, more aisles, more warehouse space and ultimately more management of staff, stock and, of course, safety. All of which impacts on cost.

But what is the alternative?

What if you could have a situation where the specific pallets required were brought automatically to a dedicated picking area – either full pallets or broken pallets.

What if the pallets were brought automatically by an automated SMART pallet carrier that we pre-programmed to pick the right pallet to the right position at the right time – and if it was a broken pallet, put it back in the storage facility once the case had been picked.

What if you did not need aisles for forklifts to access the storage and the pallets were stored in an ultra-high-density racking system which increased your storage capacity by 40- 50-150%.

What if you did not need as many forklifts or your operators could be redeployed?

What if you could pre-programme the pallets required the night before so they were pre-picked and sitting in the picking areas ready for mixed pallets to be assembled or full pallets to be loaded directly onto the waiting wagons?

And what if you had absolute control of where every pallet was in the racking with an intelligent software solution which was continually identifying the fastest moving items and bringing them closer to the despatch area to reduce transit times?

Sound interesting?

This goods to man approach turns the entire process on its head and is powered by Thistle Systems’ AUTOCUBE™ Automated Racking storage Solution and its Intelligent Autocube Control & Tracking Software (i-ACTS).

If you would like to see it in action – request access to our Finished Goods Warehouse of the Future Webinar or contact us now to find out more.