The 5 Key Benefits of Automating Cold Store Warehouses
Automated cold store warehouses are fast becoming popular in the cold chain industry. Cold chain operators are facing complex challenges, such as rapid decline in warehouse manpower, rising costs of land space and operating energy, and increasing demands from consumers for faster, more accurate orders. To stay competitive, cold chain operators must look for logistics solutions that increases efficiency at minimal cost and energy, and the automated warehouse offers many unique advantages.
Here are 5 key benefits of automating cold warehouse facilities.
Storing more in a small floor space
When it comes to storing large number of pallets, an automated high bay warehouse will definitely achieve a higher storage density than a conventional warehouse. A high bay warehouse which can secure storage capacity beyond 40 meters in height guarantees optimum space utilization. High bay warehouses reduce reliance on man-operated material handling equipment significantly, which allows them to occupy only 30% of the land space that a conventional warehouse would, or achieve a higher storage capacity within an available area.
Reducing warehouse energy costs
As energy costs continue to rise, many cold store operators are looking to automation. With high bay temperature-controlled warehouses, cold store operators can expect reduced energy costs. Eliminating manually operated equipment like forklifts in automated warehouses also help to lower energy consumption, as doors to temperature controlled areas do not need to open as frequently for access.
Safer work environments
Employee turnover rates in cold store and freezer environments are higher than that of ambient warehouses, as employees expect better work environments and work safety today. For these reasons, cold store operators are finding it increasingly challenging to find the employees they need.
Automated high bay warehouses reduce the need for warehouse operators to work in freezer environments. With automation, pickers no longer need to enter the freezers, where temperatures can go as low as -28°C, to carry out order picking. Instead, the products will be presented to them through Goods-to-Person automation in an anteroom with improved ergonomics. Furthermore, automating product flows within the warehouse allows manufacturers and cold store operators to achieve new levels of efficiency and safety.
Eliminate risk of damages
Freezer access doors in conventional temperature-controlled warehouses are often damaged by mishandling of manually operated material handling equipment like reach trucks or Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) trucks. Racking in conventional warehouse are also often damaged, which creates an unsafe work environment, as the racks might collapse and cause fatalities in the warehouse. With fully automated storage and retrieval systems replacing manually operated material handling equipment, such unsafe working conditions are greatly minimized in automated warehouses.
Improving inventory control and accuracy
Inventory accuracy is improved with digitization and dedicated warehouse management software available in today’s market. In conventional warehouses that employ manually operated equipment, human error is often the cause of inaccurate storage locations and order picking.
In a bid to rectify wrong deliveries, cold store operators will have to find ways to deliver the right orders to their customers within the same day, hence incurring unnecessary costs. Redeliveries can also cause significant damage to the manufacturers and distributors’ brand reputation, which might result in loss of repeat customers, and failure to attract new ones. Ultimately, automated warehouses help eliminate picking errors and leads to happy and satisfied customers.
Cold chain operators with automated cold store warehouses are staying ahead of their competition. As businesses look for more opportunities to expand services globally, there is a greater need for efficient, error-free logistics solutions that support faster growth at a lower cost. With automation, the cold chain industry can look forward to higher accuracy, efficiency, and productivity.