Do you remember when there were maybe a dozen brands of beer, plus gin, vodka and whiskey, and you had Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet? Well, you get my drift. Today, distributors of Beer, Wine and Spirits have thousands of SKU’s consisting of craft beers, wines, spirits and miscellaneous products—all of which need storage and handling. You could pick a pallet, a case, or one of many package configurations, specifically
- 6 pack
- 12 pack
- 18 pack
- 24 pack
- 30 pack
- 1 bottle
And that’s just for one order! It’s not your father’s distribution center anymore.
Picking and delivering orders to retailers is a different ballgame today. The beverage distributors that look at best practices in their industry will find people using the right tools for the job needed. You could see stand-up electric trucks docking, staging and loading alongside walkie/rider pallet trucks picking four orders at a time. You also might see forklift operators unloading two pallets at once, cutting the time needed to unload in half.
The warehouse itself might look different—forward pick areas using bulk, pallet rack, pallet flow rack, carton flow rack and, quite possibly, automated pick modules with takeaway conveyor. You may even see specially designed coolers with mobile racking and special flow lanes for keg storage.
To me, there are answers out there to improve productivity and ensure your employees’ safety through good ergonomic practices. Storage and retrieval technologies are moving products more accurately and efficiently than ever before. You need to look at best practices, and to coin a phrase of a good friend of mine, ‘look at the new technologies and embrace the ones that fit your needs’.
To accomplish this, look for a material handling provider that can offer you many options and work alongside you to develop a customized plan that will fit YOUR needs. One that brings to market all the things customers will love and no one else is even thinking about. That’s where you’ll discover the difference!
As a distributor, what is your biggest challenge? Please leave your comment below.