Automation in the warehouse can improve delivery at the store
Pepsi Bottling Group discovered that the benefits of automating your warehouse don't have to stop at the dock door.
By Susan K. Lacefield
The benefits of automating your warehouse don't have to stop at the dock door. At least that's what Pepsi Bottling Group discovered after embarking on an extensive distribution center automation initiative.
In the past, Pepsi's delivery trucks were loaded in whatever way was most efficient for the warehouse, not the driver. "We made the trucks into rolling warehouses, and the drivers would have to work like they were in a small warehouse," said Tim Thornton, vice president of supply chain logistics for The Pepsi Bottling Group.
What that meant was that drivers had to manually assemble orders once they arrived at the store, which sometimes required moving between 16 and 18 bays on the truck to obtain access to the right SKUs. This chewed up a lot of time that could have been better spent serving and selling to the customer.
Switching to reverse-stop sequencing—a technique in which pallets are built in the reverse order of delivery—resulted in more efficient deliveries, fewer order errors, and more time for customer service. But Pepsi was only able to build loads this way because it had installed high-speed order pickers and pick-to-light systems. These technologies made it easier for the company to build mixed layer pallets quickly as well as to build pallet loads containing all of the SKUs required by a specific customer.
More coverage from CSCMP Annual Global Conference 2010
- Panama aims to become a crossroads of global trade
- Haggar's slimmed-down supply chain produces results
- Easy days past for shippers, IP executive says
- Third-party logistics companies get more involved in packaging
- Long-time innovator honored with Distinguished Service Award
- One voice needed on European sustainability
- New consortium to address supply chain volatility
- Germany eyes palletized freight trains
- Autopart International slashes return rates by 33%
- New metrics will forecast supply chain trends
- New TMS users looking at 8% savings: Oracle executive
- 2010 will be bounce-back year for 3PLs, according to Armstrong study
- BNSF sees shippers seeking longer contracts
- Industrial real estate: He who hesitates loses money
- Get to know your customer