Consumer Preferences Demand a Better Way of Shipping Beverage SKUs

    Here's how restaurants can ensure the right mix of beverage-related SKUs will arrive at the right time.
    Warehouse automation lifting mixed-product pallets
    SSI SCHAEFER

    Given the ever-increasing array of brands and beverage flavors that cater to consumer preferences today, getting the right product mix to the customer at the right time is getting more and more difficult. This is especially true in manual applications that were originally set up to handle the more traditional fulfillment types, like full pallet and layer quantities. This is where automating an expensive process such as building a mixed SKU order pallet and leveraging a warehouse management software (WMS) or warehouse control system (WCS) solution to pull the right product and build the right pallet in the right order comes into play. This saves on labor, operational costs, and helps to boost bottom-line profits.

    SSI SCHAEFER

    Restaurant beverage product orders can be complex, but automation can help manage mixed-product pallets while increasing profits and reducing picking errors.

    For distribution of beverages, a pallet full of soda can easily be picked and shipped. While this may be true for one or two brands or flavors, this certainly isn’t the case when adding in water, raspberry lemonade, Frappuccinos, and more. Things quickly start to go awry when figuring out the correct mix and sequencing for these complex orders. This is when using automation to help build the perfect pallet for each storefront makes sense. Since automation saves on labor and eliminates picking errors, it will also increase profits, too.

    An automated case picking system can be integrated with a high-bay warehouse system or can be leveraged as a complete standalone solution. Cases of each SKU are de-palletized and loaded into a robotic shuttle system. The software knows which product is needed for the customer order and will retrieve cases from the shuttle system for palletizing. 

    Each case is then picked and palletized robotically. It does this case-by-case and uses a sophisticated palletization software to build the perfect pallet. It only must know the dimensions, weights, and whether, when, or where to place the exact products on the pallet. It can even handle sensitive products such as glass bottles. Product is also optimized to get the most on each pallet to increase the cube utilization within a trailer. This intelligent solution enables a faster way to build pallets, but it also enables a route sequencing order for distribution.

    For distribution routes that are mapped out via distance, traffic routes, and more, the software understands which pallet should be built first so that it is loaded onto the truck for distribution first, second, last, and so on. This helps speed up distribution delivery. The same can also work with any chilled or frozen goods as well depending on the type of truck.

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