An innovative Pallet Live Storage installation can play a key role in supporting grocery retailers as they strive for market leading growth, writes BITO Storage Systems Managing Director Edward Hutchison
Providing up to 50 percent more storage capacity than traditional racking on the same footprint, a Pallet Live Storage (PLS) system can contribute significantly to accommodating sufficient stock to help grocery retailers meet growing demand.
Supporting a retailer’s need to maintain customer service, in tandem with achieving sales growth, is one of the biggest challenges placed on distribution centres (DC), particularly when it comes to handling the sheer volumes involved and fast turnaround required by everyday bulk stock lines, such as soft drinks.
Pressure intensifies when these lines experience peaks, such as during a hot summer – particularly in large cities or on the coast. If one store runs out of soft drinks on a very hot day, there’s a good chance that others in the region will experience a similar issue. All will want more but storage limitations mean there’s a chance that not every store will get the amount they require, which will impact negatively on the grocery retailer’s level of customer service.
Maximising the amount of storage that can fit within the constraints of a DC, to provide efficient order fulfilment for retail stores, will help to avoid such situations. For those grocery DCs that need greater flexibility to meet a variety of demands from customers within a limited space, PLS offers a dense storage and order picking system that contributes to innovative, efficient and agile grocery logistics operations. On a relatively small footprint, pallets can be located ‘in the air’ on several levels of inclined roller lanes, with delivery lanes for pallet loads of bulk stock lines – such as soft drinks – on the ground floor. This provides dense storage and rapid access to orders.
The flexibility in such a design allows products that need to be sent immediately to stores to be picked directly from the flow lane and transported to Goods Out. If the ground floor delivery lanes are getting close to empty, then stock stored in the lanes above can be brought down and pushed through to the other side of the lane for order pickers to continue their pick.
Operating on the FIFO (First In First Out) principle, PLS ensures product rotation, which is important for grocery store replenishment, ensuring the first product sorted by the ‘best before’ date is picked. A further benefit is that PLS can accommodate seasonal items on the flow lanes in the upper levels, allowing the grocery DC to take advantage of quiet time to get those products out to stores early.
Gaining the capacity to hold sufficient stock to meet demand and deliver quickly to stores, even when bulk products hit a peak, makes the investment in PLS well worth it.
A PLS system supplier with an experienced team of experts should be able to work closely with the client to develop competitively priced, customised solutions and work around existing operations to deliver projects on time.
For further information on pallet live storage, visit: www.bito.com.