Fresh meat from farm to shelf
Fancy a juicy steak? Most of us do, sure enough! But the treat it is for those at the end of the supply chain has become an ever more demanding task further ahead in that chain: Meat product manufacturers and distributors need to provide increasingly efficient storage and throughput to fulfill customer requirements. To meet the challenge, streamlined material handling technologies are becoming more widely utilized to speed throughput, improve cost efficiency and maintain more precise product tracking.
The meat supply chain is adapting in a number of ways:
- High-density storage is being utilized to improve energy efficiency in the chilled and deep-freeze warehouse environment;
- Introduction of standardized transport units to reach the next level of efficiency is being applied, such as plastic totes and crates for carrying SKUs of fresh meats as well as dollies
- Demand has become increasingly important for fully-automated picking to ensure timely store deliveries and to avoid labor issues;
- Application of modular and energy-efficient conveyor systems to move totes/crates, cases and pallets through the warehouse
- More electronic data interchange within the supply chain to keep track of fast-moving meat deliveries, which demands warehouse management systems (WMS) to be smoothly integrated with production.
Swisslog’s white paper on meat warehousing
Improved throughput productivity at meat processing warehouses and the ability to deliver more SKUs in store friendly formats with increased speed and accuracy are seen as key benefits of streamlined automation (see Swisslog’s white paper). Some of the latest systems for meat producers and distributors include:
Pallet Technology Streamlines Handling of Frozen and Canned Meats
ASRS for high-density pallet handling – These high-bay systems are ideal solutions for the efficient storage and throughput of high volume SKUs, such as frozen and canned meats stored on pallets.
Pallet conveyors ensure flexibility – Transporting pallets throughout the meat warehouse with optimum flexibility and efficiency requires a specifically designed of continuous operation in ambient temperature, chilled and deep-freeze environments.
Light Goods Solutions for Rapid Throughput
Miniload systems for fast handling of light goods – Miniload systems such as cranes and shuttle systems are equipped to pick and move totes/crates and cases of small quantity meat products which provide the high throughput and superior efficiency required.
Light goods conveyors for seamless integration – These conveyor systems are designed with a sustainable, modular design and smart controls for high performance light goods handling as well as integrated energy management systems.
Proven Meat Handling Solutions
Optimized order fulfillment – Based on buffering and stacking of totes and crates in chilled meat warehouses, articulated arm robots consolidate orders into finished stacks. These are automatically loaded onto outbound shipping carriers – dollies or pallets – in the exact sequence. This represents state of the art.
Automated Systems to Sustain Competitiveness
The need to deliver the right product at the right time, to the right place and with the right quantity is critical in the meat distribution supply chain. Sell-by dates, temperature control, government regulations and anticipating future warehouse flexibility are factors that meat producers must take into account when designing their warehousing operations. The most successful meat product producers are embracing these new supply chain challenges with automated systems.